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Fight for Education

UNICEF: A fight for education like you’ve never seen before

 

Every child has a right to education, no matter where they are born or what their circumstances. We’ve all heard the line, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t believe in it. But however much we believe the idea, around the world 264 million children and adolescents still do not have access to education, and in a war torn country like South Sudan 72% of children are out of school.

How do we bring the education message to life in a different way? One that catches the attention of global audiences and leaves them inspired to take action?

In 2017, Rooftop partnered with UNICEF to find the answers to these questions. UNICEF South Sudan was looking for a social media video that would resonate with global audiences and raise awareness about the importance of continued access to education for all children.

For this, we wanted to do something really different. The education message is out there, and we wanted to shake things up a bit.

As we began our research we found that instead of being depressed about all the children who weren’t in school, we were completely inspired by the positive stories of young refugee children who were committed to their schooling, who found a way to make it to school every day despite their circumstances and the challenges they faced.

 

For this, we wanted to do something really different. The education message is out there, and we wanted to shake things up a bit.

As we began our research we found that instead of being depressed about all the children who weren’t in school, we were completely inspired by the positive stories of young refugee children who were committed to their schooling, who found a way to make it to school every day despite their circumstances and the challenges they faced.

 

There it was! We would raise awareness about the importance of education not by looking at all the bad things that would happen without it, but by inspiring our audiences with the grit and determination of the children who were hanging in there, committed despite their circumstances.

We had the angle, now we needed to shape the story.

As one of our scriptwriters was reading a bedtime story to her youngest son, the idea hit her. What if we told this story as a fairytale? It would allow us to keep things simple, but also build in layers of meaning through visual symbolism, allowing it to be viewed by different audiences with varying levels of understanding.

With the idea and script in place, it was time to challenge our creative teams. And they took this one on with a scary level of enthusiasm and focus. We decided on clay-mation, something that we had never done before, but a style that we knew serve the story and stretch our creative juices. Over the course of 4 weeks, our studio became an art studio with a team of art directors and animators working to create our main character, build sets and props. Everything you see in this video is real, designed and created from scratch – from the clouds in the sky to the library of books, XX tiny books individually made and placed to create the scene.

 

The original animation started with a child’s voice over, but once UNICEF showed the video to Angelique Kidjo, a Grammy award winning recording artist, she jumped on board and offered to provide us with a voice over. We loved the accent and the warm, parental feel, that she brought to the video. It truly felt like a fairy tale when she read it.

The video was launched at the 2017 UN General Assembly and went on to become one of UNICEF’s most viewed videos of 2017, proving that there’s always a new way to talk about an old topic and breathe new life into it.

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