New Ambassador promises to advocate for children
Mpumalanga Department of Social Development MEC Lindiwe Ntshalintshali has congratulated the newly appointed Children’s Parliament Ambassador Annah Theko from Masana Secondary School in Bohlabela District.
This follows the 10th Annual Children Parliament that was held at Ingwenyama Lodge, on October 2, 2021. The parliament was constituted after realising that children are faced with a number of social issues that are often not taken into consideration in the day to day lives of the children. Thus, this platform came into existence to enable children to voice out issues that concerns them.
The newly pointed Ambassador, Annah promised that the social ills that were raised during the session will be dealt with. Some of the issues that were raised include teenage pregnancy, bullying, negligence and children living with disabilities amongst others.
The newly elected Parliamentarian, Ms Annah Theko pledged her commitment to working hard in solving children issues, “I will be the voice of the children and I will ensure that their needs are met,” she said to the loudest applause from those in attendance.
On the issue of teenage pregnancy, she pointed out the fact that most children fall into this trap due to lack of knowledge, poor communication on the part of parents who often hold the view that talking about sex education would be taboo.
“We are not taught about sex, the dangers of having sexual intercourse and the way in which this activity may negatively impact our future.” She said to great appreciation of the audience which had eagerly waited for her address.
She continued to say that it breaks her to see children living with disabilities being ill-treated at schools and in the community. They are mostly not given equal opportunities as other children. “As your Ambassador I will not rest until I see change in all the issues that we discussed in this parliament. Children living with disabilities are one of us and we as the parliament in Mpumalanga have to ensure that they no longer have to live in fear of discrimination.”
The Provincial manager of the Right of Children, Ms Elsinah Mhlongo who was the host and organiser of the Children Parliament shared with the parliamentarians regarding how close the program is to her heart. “What I like most about this program is that it allows us to interact with children and let them voice out their issues and how they want to be treated,” she said.
Mhlongo concluded that her biggest wish is that parents should develop a good relationship with their children in order minimise issues of teenage pregnancy, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse and peer pressure amongst others.
The Parliament was attended by 27 children from Bohlabela, Ehlanzeni, Nkangala and Gert Sibande district. Towards the end of this session, four representatives from each district were elected. In Nkangala: Given Matshika from Musa Secondary School. In Bohlabela District: Annah Theko from Masana Secondary School. Ehlanzeni: Nolwazi Lukhele from Sidlamafa Secodary. Lastly, Gert Sibande: Bathobile Nkabule from Highveld Secondary.