In 1989, 194 countries ratified the convention on the Rights of the Child based on the conviction and belief that all children possess an equal right to grow up healthy, strong, well-educated and capable of contributing to their societies.
Since then, the circumstances under which children live, have improved. Greater attention is being paid to children’s health, education has improved and restrictions on child employment, female genital mutilation and corporal punishment have been implemented. Nevertheless, those children who at that time were the most vulnerable are still the most vulnerable. Their situation has not changed, in fact it even deteriorated. The COVID pandemic made their situation even worse.
If the world does not address this inequality today, according to UNICEF, by 2030 - the deadline set by the United Nations to attaining sustainable development goals - 167 million children will live in extreme poverty, 69 million children under 5 will die, and 60 million children in primary school age will not attend school.The State of the World's Children 2016, Unicef
Although it is agreed that the most vulnerable in our society should be protected, the fate of these children easily disappears from the attention in the turmoil of the daily adult news. If we really want to make a serious effort to improve the lives of these children, we have to describe the circumstances they live in continuously and tell their stories profoundly and inescapably. Art and artists can play
a significant role in this endeavour. Alongside the analyses, statistics and political intentions, artists are capable of depicting the stories of these children on a personal and emotional level. Art touches the heart and can make the lives and obstacles that these children encounter day after day tangible. Not to raise pity, but on the contrary to show the potential, the resilience and the strength of these children. The aim is to create involvement and awareness by a general public, by regional and international leaders and by social and political institutions, to evoke necessary and concrete actions to give these children a fair chance in life.
In 10 cities in 10 countries, an international and local community of children, young people, professional artists, museums, theaters, film schools, as well as universities, humanitarian organizations and NGOs will work together on various art projects.The stories of the children and their perspectives are central. They are the authors and the experts.
Liesbeth Coltof is an internationally respected theater director. She was the artistic director of one of the most important theater companies for children and young people in the Netherlands, the Toneelmakerij, and has received important prizes at home and abroad for her work. She has extensive experience in working in war zones and countries in conflict or poverty, such as in Palestine (Gaza), Nigeria, Russia and Iran. For her 'special merits of a very exceptional nature for society' she joined the Order of the Netherlands Lion as a Knight. (extensive CV)
Dennis Meyer is a dramaturg, theater teacher and policy advisor and was artistic director of Het Lab Utrecht, a theater organization where young professional theater makers worked for children and young people. He also set up several art festivals and was a youth theater specialist at the Theater Institute Netherlands for a long time, where he set up various international projects.
The board of the 10CHILDREN Foundation consists of Valentijn Ouwens (chairman), Lucien Kembel (treasurer) and Cobie de Vos (secretary).
Yournalist Marian Buijs interviewed Liesbeth Coltof and Dennis Meyer on 10CHILDREN. You can read the interview here.