LOS ANGELES, California — As the 74th annual Emmy Awards to celebrate outstanding television are approaching, Netflix’s hit television show Stranger Things actor, Millie Bobby Brown, shines in the spotlight. The Emmy Award nominee is known for the series, but she is also passionate about fighting child poverty.
On World Children’s Day in 2018, Millie Bobby Brown became the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. At 14 years old, Brown dedicated her work to focus on raising awareness about specific issues children in poverty face.
During a press conference to announce the actresses’ new title at the U.N. headquarters, she declared “I will make sure children and young people know their rights and I will do everything I can to empower them, to be the change they want to see in the world.”
Brown had previously worked with UNICEF in 2016 for World Children’s Day and expressed how important the United Nations non-profit is in providing necessities and advocacy for children in poverty.
In her speech, the Emmy Award nominee emphasized the importance of safety and education for the 1.2 billion children living in poverty since they are at an increased risk of staying in poverty. However, through access to education and a safe environment to learn, change can be made.
Children born in poverty take four to five generations on average to reach the national income of their location, according to Save the Children. Education creates the opportunity to escape poverty, for example, 171 million people would not be impoverished if every student in low-income countries received the ability to reach a basic reading level.
Poverty inherently interferes with a child’s ability to receive an education since there are often educational costs, including tuition, books and uniforms, to attend school. In 2015, 264 million children were not able to attend school.
Education is essential for fighting poverty, but also for survival. When the mother of a child is literate, there is a 50% increase in the probability their baby will live over five years. Furthermore, that child is twice as likely to receive an education, according to Children International. Education is a long-term solution for the 1.2 billion children living in poverty.
When children receive fundamental rights, they are able to break the cycle of poverty which UNICEF works to establish globally. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Millie Bobby Brown advocates for work such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provide social protection for children.
UNICEF works in over 100 countries to provide necessities to children in need. There are over a billion children that entirely lack social protection. One direct way children are provided support is through cash transfers. Currently, only a quarter of households globally have cash aid. When families receive monetary aid, children are then able to fulfill their specific needs, including food, medical aid, or education fees. When families receive funds to support their children, overall well-being improves.
UNICEF has continued to work to fight for children in several ways, including advocacy. Goodwill Ambassadors, like the Stranger Things Emmy Award nominee, bring awareness to the vast amount of children suffering in poverty. When actors like Brown choose to use their voice in partnership with the U.N., there is a possibility of unity to fight poverty.
– Ann Shick
Photo: Wikimedia Commons