SA named as worst country to raise kids in

South Africa has been named as the worst country in the world to raise school-going children aged between five and 14.

A shocking 77 South African children die out of every 100000 – the highest in the world.

This was revealed by the United Nations Children’s Funds (Unicef) in a two-day conference on education organised by the Global Development Network (GDN) in Lima, Peru last week, which the Dispatch attended.

In her presentation, Unicef’s education, emergency officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ruth Custode, said violence was jeopardising the right to education for millions of children around the world.

Custode said South Africa had a high number of homicide incidents where schoolchildren were victims. She revealed that:

  • South Africa’s 76.94 out of 100000 schoolchildren who died was far higher than in the Congo and Somalia, which are at 12 and eight deaths per 100000 respectively;
  • More South Africa schoolchildren died than anywhere else in the world with 76.94 deaths per 100000, compared to the UK which was at 8.92 and the US at 12.97. These figures included infanticide;
  • South Africa was ranked second for small arms possession, higher than the US and UK.

She said it was important to build strong, well-educated communities.

“The private sector can play a critical role in achieving strong schools and communities by engaging with local authorities, organisations and society to raise awareness and identify good practices to prevent violence and ensure the right to education in their communities,” she said.

She said violence was impacting badly on education. “You will see that there’s a lot of dropouts at school because of threats and fear.”

She also said many kids faced restrictions in getting to school. Some had to take dangerous routes or were forcefully recruited into criminal activities.

“School and community-based intervention with local authority-based intervention are very important,” she said.

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