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UNICEF: Day of the African Child Concert in Support of Child Rights in Mozambique

MAPUTO, Mozambique, 15 June 2010 -- The girl was only 12 years old when her father took her to a guest house and raped her. She told her mother, but her mother did not believe her. Unable to deal with the trauma, the girl reached out for help at the Alta Mae Support Centre in a crowded neighbourhood of Maputo, Mozambique's capital city. Run by the Ministry of Interior with support from UNICEF and non-governmental partners, the Alto Mae Support Centre is one of 200 such centres located in hospitals and police stations across the country. Last year, they helped more than 3,500 children. In an effort to help promote zero tolerance for violence and abuse, UNICEF recently joined forces with the International Festival of Music and the Association for Artists to host a concert with some of Mozambique's top musicians -- including Dilon Djindji, Jose Mucavele, Elvira Viegas and Valdemiro Jose, among others. Held on 5 June in Maputo, the concert was dedicated to spreading the word and changing attitudes against child abuse, domestic violence and trafficking. It was one of a series of child-focused events organized here in the run-up to Day of the African Child, which will be observed tomorrow, 16 June. "Children should never have to experience violence and abuse. It is our responsibility to put an end to it,' says Stewart Sukuma, one of Mozambique's most popular musicians.

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