Seeking to provide equal opportunities to all children in the country, UNICEF launched today a new awareness campaign here with an impactful film offering insight into lives of the less fortunate children. Trending on social media as #FairStart campaign, the initiative uses strong messages and images related to UNICEF’s key areas of priorities that include education, sanitation, early marriage, new born health and stunted growth among others.
“What it really tries to tell us is that even though there are inequities and disparities around us, not necessarily everybody sees this. That is what this film is trying - to open up and say, ‘look around you. It is around you wherever you go,’” Caroline Den Dulk, chief, advocacy and communication, UNICEF said.
Citing several data, Den Dulk pointed out - Currently, 6.1 million in India are out of school (SRI-IMRB Study for MHRD, Govt of India, 2014); around 10 million children are engaged in work in India (Census 2011) and close to 3,500 children die everyday before reaching the age of 5 years (2013 Report of Sample Registration System).
Besides, 42 per cent of tribal children in India are stunted in their growth and development (RSOC 2013-14) and about 564 million people still practice open defecation (UNICEF-WHO Joint Monitoring Report 2015).
“Girls in India deserve an equal chance in life too, but on an average 2.22 million girls marry every year in India and 23 per cent girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years experience physical or sexual violence,” she said.
The campaign also aims to reach out and encourage changemakers to engage in debates and dialogues to bring about a change in the mindset of the larger public.
“To make change happen a mind-shift is required. The #FairStart campaign aims at engaging the larger public in a debate for everyone to see that they have a role to play to make sure every child can have a fair chance in life,” Den Dulk said.
The nearly 3-minute long film features in its backdrop nursery rhymes sung by children and highlights the stark disparities prevalent in the society.
While one relishes food in a restaurant, another barely manages two meals a day; while one child plays with a doll inside a car, another attempts to sell roses to make a living.
To realise the film, UNICEF worked with children from across slums in Mumbai to offer first-hand narratives of the lives of children who are “full of potential but less likely to grow up healthy and safe, less likely to attend school, less likely to learn and more likely to be married as children.” Participating children have contributed towards the film in various roles of “camera man”, “art director”, “costume designers” etc.