The thumbprint mosaic has been designed by New York-based artist Ian Wright and represents the support of three million people from 40 countries who have taken part in Save the Children's EVERY ONE campaign. The campaign aims to put pressure on world leaders meeting at the United Nations in New York, to do more to stop children dying needlessly of preventable and treatable causes.
"Every three seconds in the developing world a child dies needlessly due to lack of basic health care and other things we all take for granted," said Claire Danes, a Save the Children supporter. "I'm here today to add my thumbprint and my support to this cause, just one of three million people from across the globe – from the poorest communities to world leaders – who have signed up to Save the Children's EVERY ONE campaign."
The campaign has also been backed by notable people around the globe such as Hugh Laurie, Kevin McKidd, Sally Field, Mark Ruffalo, Laila Rouas, Amanda Holden, Dame Judi Dench, Annie Lennox and Bollywood stars Kunal Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Shabana Azmi, Gurinder Chadha, Onir, and Amrita Raichand.
The thumbprints will be handed over to a high level representative of the United Nations, which hosts a summit this week to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed targets to tackle poverty. Save the Children is calling for an action plan to be agreed to by all governments, to reach the Millennium Goal of cutting child deaths by two thirds by 2015. Hitting this target would save the lives of 15 million children by 2015, the charity said. It would involve improving children's access to basic health care, nutrition, water, sanitation and education.
"This is a make or break opportunity," said Save the Children's global CEO Jasmine Whitbread. "Proven, low-tech and inexpensive solutions exist to stop children dying. What we need is the will - from politicians, the public, aid agencies, companies, EVERY ONE - to make it happen on a global scale. We know what works; we need world leaders to turn their promises into a plan."
As well as lending their thumbprints to the visual petition, supporters of the EVERY ONE campaign have contributed in a number of different ways.
- In Italy Italian Serie A team, Fiorentina, recently donated euro 250,000 for the EVERY ONE campaign and will feature the logo on their official shirts for the season. Go Fiorentina!
- Hundreds of supporters made their mark in Australia at the UN Conference on Health held in Melbourne on 30 August - 148,000 Australians have now signed up to the campaign.
- Last week the Nistarini women's college in West Bengal, India 500 college students signed up for the campaign and committed to document real case studies in nearby villages and spread awareness.
- Over 41,000 people recently signed up and used their thumbprints to press for change at a series of events across Bangladesh.
- In Colombia well-known stars led a public campaign by adding their thumbprint to the campaign, leading to over 3,000 supporters.
- In Denmark a knitting explosion has seen tens of thousands of people taking direct action to save children's lives by knitting caps for newborns.
- In Egypt over 600,000 people have taken action by signing petitions or campaigning in the streets.
- In Ethiopia over 15,000 people have already taken action for the campaign, taking part in rallies, meetings and Ethiopia's first ever half marathon.
- In Canada, almost 6,000 EVERY ONE supporters helped push the Canadian government to use its Presidency of the G8 to focus the development agenda on maternal and child health. The G8 leaders committed $5 billion and committed to saving the lives of 1.4 million children, 64,000 mothers and the distribution of modern methods of contraception to 12 million couples.
- In India, community mobilisation campaigns, celebrity engagement and corporate partners has resulted in 104,000 thumbprints.
- The UK team has lead a major national initiative involving celebrities, media and events which has lead to over 635,000 thumbprint supporters to date.
Today's New York launch will be attended by Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executives of Save the Children from seven countries as well as other representatives from around the globe.
The charity will be collecting additional thumbprints throughout the day in Grand Central Terminal – just 4 avenues from the meeting of world leaders at the UN Summit.
Notes for editors:
- For interviews and more information, please contact: Ben Hewitt, Project Director, Newborn and Child Survival, 00 44 7821 695 024, firstname.lastname@example.org or Katy Gray, Weber Shandwick, 917-848-8997, email@example.com
- Video footage showing the stories of children in developing countries, and the installation launch will be available to download. Please contact Ben Hewitt, Project Director, Newborn and Child Survival, 00 44 7821 695 024, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Save the Children's Report "A Fair Chance in Life," can be read at http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/54_12454.htm
- The report demonstrates how the deaths of 4 million children could be prevented over a ten year period if countries took a fairer approach to their spending on healthcare, clean water and sanitation, and nutrition.
- Unicef has released a report (17.09.10) announcing new figures a fall in the number of deaths among children aged under 5. Globally, death rate has fallen from 12.4 million to 8.1 million. The report can be read here: http://www.unicef.org/media/media_56045.html
- For more information, please visit www.everyone.org for the global EVERY ONE campaign and www.goodgoes.org in the U.S.
SOURCE Save the Children