Voice of the Children & Geometry Global Shine Light on the Invisible Children of Malaysia
A blank poster comes to life as the face of a child emerges from the darkness. This child represents one of many stateless children in Malaysia, seen as non-existent in the eyes of the law. The faces of more children continue to appear as each poster is signed in solidarity of their plight at the Bring To Light campaign launch.
The Bring To Light campaign, a collaboration between non-government children’s organization Voice of the Children and Geometry Global, aims to raise awareness on the issue of stateless children in Malaysia. Through no fault of their own, stateless children are denied access to education, healthcare and protection under the law making them vulnerable to poverty, violation, exploitation and trafficking.
“The ultimate goal of this campaign is to reduce the number of stateless children in Malaysia, and to raise awareness on the need for birth registration. Parents need to be aware that children may risk becoming stateless if they are not registered at birth,” said Sharmila Sekaran, President of Voice of the Children, who gave the welcome address at the launch.
“We estimate that there are between 50,000 to 150,000 unregistered children in Malaysia, and this number will continue to grow if nothing is done about it. We hope to continue being able to work closely with the government to solve this issue, and to give these young ones a future they can look forward to,” she adds.
Dr. Hartini Zainudin, Vice President of Voice of the Children hopes her children will also be brought to light via the campaign. She fears for her adopted daughter who is not a citizen of any country and is deemed stateless.
“The fight to give stateless children a country to call home resonates strongly with me, not just as a child activist, but particularly as a mother. Although my daughter has a birth certificate, she is still not a citizen of Malaysia,” explains Zainudin.
According to the National Registration Department (NRD), a child’s citizenship status is determined by the parents’ marital status and their citizenship status at the time of birth. The NRD also mentions that having a birth certificate is not an indication that someone is a Malaysian citizen. Child activists have long condemned this regulation.
The campaign encourages the public to shine a light on the plight of stateless children in Malaysia, turning their dark existence into a bright future. To communicate this message and symbolize the cause, Voice of the Children worked with Geometry Global to design a pledge in the form of an electronic canvas.
Attendees were invited to sign their name on a succession of black canvases in solidarity of the cause. A special pen containing conductive ink linked two ends of a circuit together and completed it, enabling the face of a stateless child to ‘come out of the darkness’ in LED lights. These unique works of art are being auctioned and proceeds from the sales will go towards efforts to get stateless children registered and on the path to citizenship.
The public can also add their signatures in support of the campaign via the Bring to Light mobile website at www.bring2light.net. Users simply sign with their finger to make the face of a child light up and appear from the darkness. The signed portrait of the child can be shared on social media to show how powerful each signature can be in helping these children become visible.
Those wishing to purchase the actual posters and contribute to the cause can contact Sumithra Vidhyananthan, Executive Director of Voice of the Children at +6017 888 7771.
Creative Agency: Geometry Global
Category: Charity , Corporate and social