The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Chipawo Says No to Child Abuse!

Today the Children's Performing Arts Workshop will join the nation and the world at large in celebrating World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse at the Zimbabwe College of Music. World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse is an annual global awareness campaign to create a culture of prevention of child abuse which falls on November 19.

The event is being commemorated under the theme "Protecting children is everybody's business".

In an interview Chipawo manager Chipo Basopo said this day is on Chipawo's calendar and each year the group celebrates it in style.

"Children from various Chipawo centres in Harare, Bindura, Chitungwiza, Domboshava and Norton will amalgamate, presenting their artistic works under the theme in a bid to increase awareness and education about child abuse and violence towards children," said Basopo.

She encouraged parents and relevant stakeholders to come and witness the show, saying a lot of fireworks were expected.

"Children from Inter-cultural theatre Uganda will showcase their talent during the week-long stay where they are also expected to learn and appreciate the cultural programme set with our local acts," said Basopo.

The cultural exchange programme will be held under theme: "The World Is Our Playground", meaning Chipawo children are free to play with children from other countries.

The International Day of Prevention of Child Abuse was established and initiated by the Women's Summit Foundation in 2000 in a bid to create a culture of prevention around the world by encouraging governments and society organisations to play more active roles in protecting children from abuse.

The day serves as a focal point for many governmental and non-governmental bodies, institutions, organisations and networks, educators, experts, professionals and parents to rally a collective stand for zero tolerance of abuse and violence against children.

Harare Junior Mayor Takunda Aaron Chimutashu urged the media to help in disseminating information about child abuse.

"The problem of child abuse and exploitation, especially sexual abuse and exploitation demands an increased local, national and international attention. The media must join hands and take responsibility for the problem of child abuse by teaching protective skills and by exposing those who abuse children," said Takunda.

Chipawo has become a platform for children to express themselves. The organisation is an educational, non-profit-making trust that aims to benefit and empower Zimbabwean children through participatory of arts education.

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