Unicef is aiming to shift public perception of migrant and refugee children from victims to capable partners in a new campaign which was launched to coincide with the weekend’s World Refugee Day.
The activity, devised by Vayner Media London, tells the true story of Aboud Kaplo, a young, self-taught musician and former refugee who realised his dream of becoming a concert violinist, even after being driven from his home during the war in Syria.
According to the Unicef 2020 Humanitarian Action for Children report, around the world more than 30 million children have been displaced by conflict. Nearly nine years of war in the Syrian Arab Republic have left nearly 5 million children in need and more than 2.5 million children living as refugees outside of the country.
But instead of focusing on Kaplo’s suffering and desperation, the campaign highlights his potential, which could so easily have been cut short had it not been for those willing to help him and his family.
Among those who came to Kaplo’s aid were Susie Attwood, a British filmmaker who recognised and encouraged the young musician’s talent after a chance meeting in Lebanon.
In a departure from traditional fundraising tactics, the “Better Worlds” campaign steers the narrative away from distressing scenes, focusing the audience’s attention instead on the positivity, innovation, hope, and entrepreneurship that their donations can provide.
The campaign features a 90 second film, two 30 second versions and banner ads running across multiple social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter).
The next stage the campaign, launching later in 2020, is designed to bring Unicef supporters even closer in partnership with migrant and refugee children through shared passions.
Unicef global campaign manager for integrated campaigns Codi Trigger said: “Our research shows the most effective way to speak to audiences is through engaging, compelling narratives that both inform and empower them to take action.
“While we want to convey the devastation young people can face, we also need to show the astounding potential children have and how much they can give to society and their local communities when provided with the right support.
“We believe that showing the full reality of these children’s situations is critical to improving their lives – and indispensable to realising the rights of every child.”
Vayner Media executive creative director Becky McOwen-Banks added: “The opportunity is to change the narrative around refugees from one of negativity to positivity – instead of focusing on what refugees take, focus on what they contribute.
“If recent events have taught us anything, it is that we are stronger together than divided. People from all walks of life, experiences and backgrounds make up our communities and bring different strengths to them. We wanted to show that this holds true no matter where you are in the world and that we can act as one, empathetic community.”