The 21st of March is an iconic date in South Africa’s history which commemorates Human Rights Day. This day serves as a reminder of the Sharpeville events whereby 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police opened fire on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass Laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people who rose in unison to proclaim their rights. In 1994 when South Africa held its first democratic election, with Nelson Mandela being elected as the first democratic president, it was the 21st of March that was officially proclaimed a public holiday.
The volunteers at The EssBee Foundation visited St. Mary’s Children’s Home in Johannesburg where they had explained to the children the importance of this day and allowed them to reflect on their human rights. They had written down their rights on pieces of paper which they later glued onto a poster turning it into a dove to signify the peace currently faced in South Africa. The children were then encouraged to remain vigilant and report abuse and cruelty in addition to protecting others irrespective of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or whether they are a foreign national or not. This is of utmost importance as human rights apply to everyone, equally.
The EssBee Foundation’s central pillars is women empowerment and education. Therefore, explaining the importance of an iconic day such as Human Rights Day is important for the youth to learn about South Africa’s history and allow women to empower themselves and be confident knowing that they have the ability to grow and flourish. The children and volunteers had fun turning their human rights into a beautiful picture that they are able to look at and reflect on daily.