Fashion designer Stella McCartney and War Child UK joined forces to launch an international art project aimed at supporting children in some of the world’s toughest conflict zones.
The Draw Me to Safety art project was launched in London at the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence in Conflict. Its aim is to use art created by children from across the UK and conflict-affected countries to promote messages about what the concept of safety means to different children today.
‘This project is about young people standing with children affected by conflict,’ said McCartney. ‘Children see the world with clarity and honesty. War Child UK and I are excited to share their insights through art that will raise awareness and encourage the world to do more to protect children from war.’
The initiative will engage 8-15 year olds in the UK and in conflict-affected countries on the issues facing children in war; asking young people to create artwork answering the question ‘What makes you feel safe?’
McCartney will then create a fashion product inspired by children’s drawings with proceeds going directly to War Child UK to help protect children in some of the most dangerous war zones in the world.
‘There are children across the world who don’t know what safety means because all they have ever seen is conflict,’ says chief executive Rob Williams. ‘Draw Me to Safety is about the power of children’s voices to talk directly to the world. We’re very grateful to Stella McCartney for her response to these voices and to Angelina Jolie for her support and attending this launch event.’
Some of the first entries from children in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syrian refugees and Afghanistan, will be reviewed by Polline, a survivor from Northern Uganda who was abducted into sexual slavery aged 12.
Talking about the project, Polline said: ‘We need to provide a safe environment for children. We need to respect children’s rights, treat them fairly and provide education – let education be the first priority for helping children in conflict.’
An online gallery will also display the images, illuminating the juxtapositions and similarities between children in the UK and children living in conflict.
‘These are moving examples of how children who have lost so much see the world,’ said Jolie, who took time out from the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence to attend the launch. ‘I hope this campaign will bring their world closer to us all, and that many people will feel inspired to help protect vulnerable children living in conflict zones.’