A 6-year-old child actress who dressed up as an abandoned impoverished girl was treated so poorly when she hit the streets that the social experiment had to be called off.
Even so, the filmmakers managed to drive home the point they hoped to share.
Underserved kids around the world face much more dire futures than their wealthier counterparts, a new UNICEF report concluded.
The video was released in conjunction with the report’s grim findings. UNICEF concluded that the world’s poorest children are twice as likely to die before their 5th birthday and to be chronically malnourished than the richest kids.
The social experiment, which featured a girl named Anano walking through the streets of Georgia alone, aimed to show how indifference and distaste toward struggling kids is impairing their futures.
When Anano was dressed in clean, chic clothes, passersby approached her in droves asking if she needed help or was lost. When she wore a threadbare outfit and appeared to have not showered, strangers wanted nothing to do with her. A man at one point told her to “Go away,” which drove Anano to tears and led the producers to end the social experiment.
“Because my face was covered in soot and my clothes were all dirty,” Anano said of why she was treated with such disdain. “This made me sad. They were all telling me to go away.”
Produced by Georgia-based advertising agency Switch Communications, the video highlighted issues children face both on the national level and in areas across the globe.
Last year, UNICEF and the European Union set up Georgia’s first state mechanism to offer support for children who lived and worked on the streets. The country developed daycare and crisis intervention centers, among other services.
Such programs are critical in order to help pull children in need out of impossible conditions.
By 2030, based on current trends, 69 million children under 5 will die from mostly preventable causes. And, 167 million children will live in poverty.
With better data, improved interventions, increased education options, cash transfer programs and other methods which have been proven effective, these figures could be reduced, the authors of the report noted.
“Denying hundreds of millions of children a fair chance in life does more than threaten their futures — by fueling intergenerational cycles of disadvantage, it imperils the future of their societies,” Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director, said in a statement. “We have a choice: Invest in these children now or allow our world to become still more unequal and divided.”
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