International aid charity War Child UK has unveiled a hard-hitting film, shot in the style of a first-person shooter video game, to highlight the traumas faced by children during war.
The film, created by agency Toad London, is entitled “Duty of Care: Protecting Children in War” but instead of following a soldier in combat, it centers on a defenseless child named Nima. The spot confronts viewers with what looks like live game play–the user interface is shown and the “Middle East” region selected, then Nima is selected. Her “Statistics” show she is low on strength, speed and aggression but high on vulnerability.
The film shows the game loading and immediately bomb blasts are heard and Nima’s father is seen racing into a room where she is playing, telling her to hide. As she cowers under a bed, a soldier enters the house, shots are fired, and after he leaves, she searches for her now missing father inside and outside the house. The story unfolds to a grim end with the child witnessing unspeakable brutalities leaving her utterly traumatized.
“For children like Nima some of the worst wounds are invisible. Over 50% of those affected by conflict are children. Yet under 3% of humanitarian funding is spent on protecting them,” follows the action.
Throughout, viewers are invited to sign a petition, which calls on U.K. Secretary for International Development, Justine Greening, to champion the protection of children affected by conflict at the first UN World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in May 2016. War Child’s overall initiative is called “HELP” and the charity says that “the future of humanitarian action will be decided at this summit”.
War Child UK’s Head of Policy and advocacy, Kate Adams, says in a blog post: “The scenarios [in the film] were based around real-life testimonies of children we work with in Africa and the Middle East. These are children who have witnessed their parents, siblings, and friends being killed in front of their own eyes…We wanted to go beyond the stereotypical emotional charity video, which, due to their sheer volume, have become forgettable and easy to disregard.”