"In Africa it is understood that children hold the knowledge and gifts that ensure the survival of the village and the tribe. In essence, the child is the king of the village. When a child walks into the middle of a crowd, all attention goes to him or her as if to applaud an arrival long awaited.

"Children complete the community! Without children, the world is a dead end and communities would not exist. Children are the life-givers, the healers, the messengers of the ancestors. They bring out the spirit of the community — they bring spirit home. Children are embraced, celebrated, and supported, for without them there would be emptiness in the hearts of all villagers.

"A child is valuable and irreplaceable, someone we cannot afford to lose. The world has embraced the truth that childhood shapes the women and men we are today. Because of this realization and deeper understanding, we have the ability to put a stop to destructive generational patterns and raise our sons and daughters with respect, self-esteem, and true commitment to their lives.

"In the Dagara tribe, we know we cannot have community without children, we cannot have children without community, and neither would exist without spirit. It is one complete circle, each element completing the whole. We welcome our children and in so doing we welcome spirit.

"Because the health of the community is intertwined with the strength and health of our children, we must encourage our young to develop healthy, positive awareness of the self. This is why we start the process of discovering a child's identity long before its birth."