OFID launches the 40th Anniversary Equal Dreams campaign
Vienna, Austria, March 8, 2016. All children have the same dreams and aspirations regardless of their situation. Globally, over 50% of refugees are children; they are the biggest group affected by displacement. Many displaced children lose access to their essential rights, including their right to play and to an education. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), in partnership with Child of Play, has launched the Equal Dreams campaign. The campaign aims to highlight the current refugee crisis from a child’s perspective, with the objective of promoting the equality of all children’s dreams.
The campaign will offer a visual representation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In particular, it will focus on Article 31 of the Convention, which recognizes the right of every child to relax and play, and engage in cultural, artistic and other recreational activities. The campaign also proposes ways of implementing the Convention by involving children in artistic and cultural activities to foster cultural understanding.
Using the UN framework, Equal Dreams has been launched as a “recreation-education-awareness” platform, thus addressing the issue through a multi-faceted approach.
The first phase transforms OFID’s headquarters into a platform for the campaign. Throughout 2016, OFID will exhibit the artwork “Tree of Hope” in the atrium of its landmark Palais Deutschmeister building at Parkring 8 in Vienna, Austria. The artwork is the result of collaboration between Child of Play and 350 children at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
In March, the façade of OFID’s headquarters will showcase faces of children from different backgrounds, including refugee children. Equal Dreams aims at destroying prejudices, and fostering a sense of tolerance and understanding. The artwork will serve as a backdrop for the Equal Dreams exhibition— running from Mid-March to June— which will fully showcase the campaign in Vienna.
Inspired by the UN guidelines, Austrian artists Lukas Maximilian Hüller and Hannes Seebacher founded the Child of Play Initiative, which aims at promoting universal values to children and youth through art and culture. Through creative workshops, the initiative also aspires to build sustainable communities and help integrate children and youth communities.
Equal Dreams will also extend OFID’s annual support to the Vienna City Marathon (VCM) for the additional participation of up to 100 children from both refugee and non-refugee backgrounds. Since 2007, OFID has supported the VCM with the conviction that sports can serve as a vital tool for development and confidence building. This year, OFID will sponsor children from selected Austrian schools to run side-by-side on April 9th.
OFID is dedicating its 40th anniversary celebration to activities that highlight the plight of refugees. This dedication is intended as a mark of solidarity between OFID and the countless number of refugees in dire need of aid.
“OFID has chosen to dedicate this important anniversary to the plight of refugees in order to raise awareness of this global humanitarian crisis, and it is our common responsibility to bring it to an end,” stated Suleiman J Al-Herbish, Director-General of OFID.
Since its inception, OFID has supported refugees through its grants facility. OFID has had longstanding cooperation with NGOs that provide assistance, including the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.