This guest article was written by Mzwandile Prince Mamaila, a youth delegate who attended the conference.
Mary-Ann Pretorius, North West Child Ambassador and Deputy President of the Nelson Mandela Children's Parliament, believes that children should be part of decision making processes.
Smiles, laughter, and cheers were all around as children filled the Durban ICC. Youth delegates came from various organizations, including the Malawi National Student Union, the Bal Ashram Trust and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament.
Grateful to be part of the prestigious conference, Pretorius said that the government should prioritize the inclusion of children in the decision making processes of children's rights. "The government should not work for us, they should work with us. Nothing for us without us", Pretorius stated. She believes that children will help come up with innovative and effective solutions, as they are the witnesses and victims of the gruesome crime of child labour.
Pretorius believes that education is the key to eradicating child labour. Some root causes, such as poverty, can be broken through quality education. Receiving quality education prepares children for a bright future, which can break the cycle of child labour.
"I'm hopeful and I know for a fact that we are going to eradicate child labour", Pretorius stated. But where do we go from here? What is the first step to eradicating child labour? Pretorius will play her part by raising awareness at the communal level. Taking all the information that she has received and spreading it. From her peers to her elders, she will leave no stone unturned. The more people are aware of this topic, the more action will be taken.