Children and Youth Conference

The voice of the youth, written & performed by a group of talented people, at the Psychosocial Support Forum 2015.

Leading up to the PSS forum RIATT-ESA partnered with REPSSI to host a Child and Youth pre-conference where about 40 young people from 13 countries came together to discuss the major challenges facing African children infected and affected by HIV. 

Here is a poem collected and collated from the stories shared by all the youth representatives at the pre-conference.



I am a African Child!

I am an African child and enough is enough
I have been belittled and shattered for a long time
My dream has been destroyed
Now I wonder where to go?
I declare that child marriage should be stopped, abolished and banned
For too long I have accepted my cultural beliefs from my parents and community BUT now let me follow my dreams
When I am forced to work I’m denied the benefits of education.
Is this my worth?
Who am I going to be?
I am an African child who needs guidance but the system has turned its back on me
Stop using my body to pay your debt
My body can’t heal your illness
My body is definitely not a source of wealth
We are not witches but children
Stop using us for witchcraft
Every minute a child is being trafficked or brutally taken from their families and forced into prostitution or slavery
Help me not become part of the statistics!
I am an African child who is forced into war and conflict
I am forced to kill, rape, torture and torment my family
Subjected to a disease which have defeated scientists
I am an African child and my protection is important so that my body is not abused
I want to live in a world where I am safe at home, school and in the street
I am an African child who became a mother at 12
I am a child who has a child and it was not my choice
I am an African child and I was adopted thinking I would have peace, love and education
But my days have turned into nightmares
I am an African child who was raped and impregnated and infected
My body has not yet matured but I have been violated
I cry for justice, but my tears bear no fruit
I cry but no-one listens to my cries
Society has left me in the claws of life
Let justice be done
Because when justice is delayed justice is denied
I am an African child living with HIV
My body is a vessel carrying a deadly disease that has killed many before me
In my country my family has rejected me, my friends has discriminated against me
I’m as good as dead
I am a child like any other. Hold my hand, touch me, hug me
I need your love – don’t discriminate against me
Don’t stigmatise me
I am an African child, a drug addict at 14
Drugs have destroyed my childhood
Give me a safe environment and stop exposing me to substance that can destroy me
I am an African child and I belief that disability is not inability
Don’t ignore us
Don’t pity us
Educate, empower and love us
I am an African child and I’m still and African child even though my skin is lighter than yours
My genetic condition does not determine my worth
Stop using our body parts for rituals and getting into powerful positions
Your out-dated beliefs are not working
I am an African child with albinism and I have dreams like any other
Don’t discriminate but help me reach my potential
Without my participation you have created policies and have failed to implement them
Involve me
Make space for my voice
My participation is important
Let the smallest speak at the highest peak
Is this not my worth?
I am an African child
I am an African child
I am an African child

–Written by: Hassan MahmudSammie Spuky NeonFrancis Ocitti & Jionilda Giiovannii
Collected and collated from stories shared by all the youth representatives.
With Rozanne Myburgh & Pearl Qhobela Drama for Life

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