The right to education and information about HIV / AIDS
Many children have gotten access to education and have been informed about HIV / AIDS
Thandiwe grew up in Zambia, where the HIV / AIDS epidemic was raging at that time and the country was suffering from its terrible consequences. Many people died during this time, including some of Thandiwe’s teachers. This caused a shortage of teachers and schools were forced to close. The right to education was at stake.
Thandiwe believes education is extremely important. It’s a basic right for every child. She grew up in a poor neighborhood in Zambia where many children, especially girls, do not have access to education. In addition, there are few or poor facilities at school. Thandiwe wants to change this.
“We cannot achieve sustainable development without ensuring that my rights, my education, and my health is just as important as that of my brothers.”
Thandiwe was 8 years old when her school was forced to close because of the death of many teachers. She motivated 60 other children to participate in a march to another school, to claim their right to education and ask to be admitted there. The march was successful and all 60 children were accepted. This was only her first step in her fight for the rights of her peers and herself.
HIV / AIDS is one of the things Thandiwe is working hard for. She wants to contribute to a future where the HIV-virus no longer exists. According to Thandiwe, this change starts with the children. She is convinced that all children should know what kind of an illness AIDS is, how it should be handled and how you can prevent it. For this reason, she wrote a children's book; The Chicken with AIDS, a book about a chicken with AIDS that infects a duck. This book is now being used in several schools to inform children about AIDS.
One of the things that Thandiwe devotes a lot of time to are her local changemaking activities. For example, she speaks with some friends in churches and at public affairs about HIV / AIDS. By doing so, they hope to further break the taboo on HIV / AIDS and create more awareness on this topic in Zambia.
“If not you, then who? If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”
With the help of the KidsRights Care and Study Fund, Thandiwe is following secondary education in Zambia, where she works hard to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse.
KidsRights supports Thandiwe as a changemaker in her fight for a world without HIV / AIDS and where education is accessible to all children.
Zambia #151 KidsRights Index
KidsRights has used the Children’s Peach Prize Project Fund 2007 to support Thandiwe in her fight for the right to education and to spread information about HIV / AIDS.
Thandiwe's school, the Jack CECUP School, had no roof and no windows when she started her classes there. Thanks to the Children's Peace Prize Project Fund, classrooms were added and the school was provided with computers and a library; Thandiwe's Library. In addition, a classroom has been set up as a science laboratory with equipment for various scientific experiments. This gives children the opportunity to develop their talents in various ways.
Read more about the projects
“Without freeing children from violence and investing in them from a very young age, we will not allow them to become confident, healthy and responsible world citizens.”
Thandiwe is a founding member of The KidsRights Youngsters; a unique youth-led advocacy and awareness-raising platform for International Children’s Peace Prize winners, that aims to realize children’s rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As leading young changemakers, they act locally, speak out to world leaders, influence policy, and engage children and young people worldwide. What these inspiring youngsters have achieved on their own is amazing. But that is just the beginning. With our support, their ambition to change the world can be limitless.
Thandiwe has become a popular speaker for children's rights at international conferences. She has spoken at several important events in Kenya, South Africa, Paris and New York. She has had the opportunity to speak out.
“My advice is; speak out and let yourself be heard, be strong and do not stop”