On June 16, 1971, more than 20,000 South African students in the Soweto Municipality took to the streets and demanded that they be taught in their own language.

The armed policemen responded by murdering hundreds of protesters. Now a public holiday in South Africa, known as Youth Day, is also recognized as the International Day of the African Child worldwide. The day focuses on the barriers African children face to receive a quality education.

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International Day of the African Child Timeline

2012 – Universal education
The United Nations urges universal public primary education for all children in Africa.

2002 – Oprah starts a school
Oprah Winfrey launches the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a boarding school in South Africa.

1993 – Introduction of standards
The Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Educational Quality Monitoring was founded to develop standards for quality education on the continent.

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What is International Day of the African Child (June 16)

HOW TO OBSERVE THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD

Make a donation

There are many charities that support children’s education in Africa. The K.I.N.D. The project, launched by UNICEF and NBC News’ Lawrence O’Donnell, buys children’s desks and benches in Malawi. Consider writing a check.

Volunteer at a local school

You do not have to live in Africa to observe the International Day of the African Child. See volunteer opportunities at your local schools or daycare centers. Spend some quality time with some kids.

Learn more about the problems.

We are all part of the human race. The more we learn and understand each other, the more we can work towards a harmonious planet. Take a little time to learn more about the African continent, its history, and the challenges your children face.

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What is International Day of the African Child (June 16)

5 WAYS TO SUPPORT EDUCATION IN AFRICA

K.I.N.D
Kids in Need of Desks offers desks and benches to children in Malawi.

Helping girls in Kenya
The Maasai Girls Education Fund works to improve the literacy, health and economic well-being of Masai women in Kenya.

Opportunities in Ethiopia
The Fregenet Foundation supports educational opportunities for needy children in Ethiopia.

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Children’s textbooks
Books for Africa is the world’s largest transporter of books to Africa.

Helping children with AIDS
Africa Classroom Connection builds and improves schools in South Africa and Malawi, many of which serve children affected by the AIDS virus.

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