Well into the 21st century, getting to live a normal, easy life is just a dream for millions of children in the world. Despite the progress made since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1989 —the most widely ratified human rights treaty, with 196 signatory states—, children continue to become refugees, to be recruited as soldiers, forced into child labour or torn apart from their families against their will. How to raise awareness of these terrible realities? On Universal Children’s Day, when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC, the EU and UNICEF have given voice to today´s real protagonists. And they’ve talked. For the past month, millions of children have spoken up for their rights while creatively engaging into #TheRealChallenge, a joint global social media campaign that is ending today. Now it is time to listen to them.
Launched on 25 October on TikTok -the fastest-growing social media in the world, already hugely popular in countries such as India and China-, #TheRealChallenge campaign released four video challenges where a child acts out a simple choreography to a pop-music soundtrack. However, these seemingly innocent movements hide a final twist linked to violations of children’s rights, which confronts the viewer with the real challenges that many children still face nowadays.
So far, the videos have received 230 million views across 41 countries and generated 51 million replicas, meaning spontaneous user-generated content replicating the original challenges. Today, at the High-Level Conference to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC, the EU and UNICEF will show a case-movie on this pioneering experience.
One of the keys for the campaign to go viral has been the support of young influencers with thousands of followers in TikTok, and who are real celebrities in the TikTok ‘universe’.
However, #TheRealChallenge has gone beyond TikTok to be picked up by real-world stars who have promoted the initiative on their personal Instagram accounts. It is the case of the 14-year-old French singer and teen idol Erza and the Spanish singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Bisbal, who will be singing the opening song at today’s conference. Nereah Amondi Oketch, the winner of Ms. President, a hugely popular Kenyan TV reality show supporting women empowerment in politics, has also expressed her will to support a campaign that has achieved a remarkable goal: engaging the youngest in a fun and playful way to speak up for their rights.
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