In 2030 UNICEF estimates that 167 million children around the world will be living in extreme poverty. It’s an astounding number; so astounding it doesn’t even seem possible. Imagine when this number becomes reality. Think of the real children behind the number, their lives, their struggles, their stories.
We want to advocate for them. We are on a mission to make the unfelt, felt; the unspoken, spoken; the hopeless, hopeful. We are 10CHILDREN and we are determined. But how can you bring the enormous reality and the many faces of childhood poverty, closer to the heart?
10CHILDREN will share the stories of children in 10 different cities around the world. Stories that will represent 10 facets of child poverty and will honor the voices of the millions of children experiencing inhumane life circumstances. Take for example Eduardo from Curitiba, Brazil; an indigenous child enduring poverty, because his family was forced to move to the city. Or Emma from Düsseldorf, Germany who is one of the thousands of children in Europe suffering from hunger on a daily basis. Other children live in Cape Town, Mumbai and Cleveland. They show how poverty affects their health; what it’s like to grow up as a girl in a society where only men count; or how living with a disability impacts their chances. One has parents that are never at home. Another only knows the backdrop of constant war.
Their stories must be told and we will use the arts to do so. Art touches the heart and can make the lives and obstacles that these children encounter every day tangible. Not to raise pity. On the contrary. We will show the potential, the resilience, and the strength of the world’s children.
In each city, theater makers, filmmakers and visual artists will partner with local organizations and individuals committed to the children’s welfare. Together they create a safe place where children can speak freely. As experts of their own lives, they will share their stories to inspire the creation of a theatre play, a visual art exhibition, a documentary and an educational program. This will create a buzz of excitement. We aim to give the children and their parents the respect they deserve and end their invisibility. We seek to raise awareness within governments, organizations and communities who can provide real change.
After all the art projects in the 10 cities are complete, we will gather for the 10CHILDRENfestival, a culminating celebration of the worldwide projects we created and the stories that have been shared. The festival will feature a congress about childhood poverty and honor the voices and solutions of the children themselves. This is when we will all stand as one and say out loud: you have to act. NOW
Liesbeth Coltof, Dennis Meyer