International Day of the African Child is a holiday that was initiated to honor the students in South Africa who fought for a higher-quality education in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. Each year on June 16th, the world recommits to working towards establishing a child-friendly, quality, free, and compulsory education for all children in Africa.  

This year, Agahozo-Shalom celebrated African Child’s Day with a special lunch for our students. During an ordinary meal at the Village, each family is assigned a specific day of the week to perform dining hall service. This includes setting the table, serving the family-style bowls of food, and helping wash the dishes and clean up afterwards. To show our appreciation for our student’s hard work, the staff decided to take responsibility for cooking and serving lunch. 

The administration staff arrived at the kitchen at 8 am to prepare an extravagant lunch of meat, beans, pasta, and plantain chips. While administrators began cooking under the supervision of the kitchen staff, informal education staff members created bowties and chef hats from leftover materials in the art center, distributing a set of each to all staff members to wear throughout the meal service. The meal began with an introduction from our Village Director JC, as students took their seats around the pre-set dining hall, their plates complimented with a wrapped piece of candy. After his speech, a stream of teachers, counselors, administration, and staff members appeared, wearing felt bowties and paper chef hats, with platters of food to serve everyone. After lunch, the kids were told to leave their plates for the staff to wash and organize, so that they could enjoy some free time before the after-school activities began. 

The lunch was a tasty and light-hearted event that served as a reminder to our students that the Village was created for, and is here, for them; for each and every one of them to be able to receive the education and opportunities that they truly deserve. 

With gratitude, the kids made handmade cards for staff members with the following words written, expressing their thanks, “We really thank you for the love that you never stop showing us, and we recognize what you do every day in our daily lives. Thank you.”

Submitted by Shelby Sullivan, 2015 Village Fellow