“As we look around the world today, we’re confronted with an uncomfortable but undeniable truth; millions of children’s lives are blighted, for no reason other than the country, the community, the gender or the circumstances into which they are born,” reports Anthony Lake the Executive Director for The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In a new State of The World’s Children report, the organization emphasizes that equity in the provision of key child and adolescent needs including access to health, education and protection from harm will enable an opportunity to replace the cycle of poverty so that these children from poor backgrounds can eventually compete on a more level playing field with children from wealthier backgrounds.
To illustrate this point, UNICEF released a short video produced by Switch Communications, which highlights issues children in certain areas face across the world. The social experiment depicts how strangers react to the same girl — played by a 6-year old actress named Anano — in two different situations.
In the first scene, Anano’s character is shown walking through the streets of Georgia alone, when she was dressed in nice, clean clothes, strangers who were walking by stopped and asked if she needed help or was lost. When she had on rather worn clothes and looked disheveled, passersby walked right past her, with next to no interest in trying to help her.
In another scene at a restaurant, her disheveled character was asked to “Go away”, by one of the diners, which made Anano cry and also led the producers to end the social experiment.
When asked how she felt following this scene, she shared that she was treated poorly — “Because my face was covered in soot and my clothes were all dirty,” she said. “This made me sad. They were all telling me to go away.”
Data from the UNICEF report projects that unless inequities are aggressively addressed, an estimated 70 million children may die before reaching their fifth birthdays; more than 60 million primary school-aged children will be out of school and about 750 million women will have been married as children.
“Inequity is not inevitable. Inequality is a choice. Promoting equity – a fair chance for every child, for all children – is also a choice. A choice we can make, and must make. For their future, and the future of our world,”Lake concludes in a statement.
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