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Communicating with children

Middle years and early adolescence

Deaf People Can Do Anything But Hear Public-service television announcements, 2003, developed with the support of UNICEF China

Series designed to provide children and youth with positive deaf role models: e.g., a teacher who is deaf signs the story of her life and excited young students all sign about their varied dreams of what they would like to be when they grow up; a deaf ballerina signs and shares how “beautiful” sign language is; viewers are asked, “Who is the deaf person in these pictures?” and are shown doctors, professors, politicians, firemen, an actress and a skydiver, all of whom are deaf.

Themes: child protection, diversity, disability


It’s Normal to Be Different - Television spot, produced in 2011 by Brazilian NGO, Instituto MetaSocial 

The spot is part of a campaign called “It’s Normal to be Different,” focusing on celebrating diversity in the world and including children and youth with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. In this particular spot, an adolescent girl talks about how she is the same and different as other girls – with a surprise ending.

Themes: child protection, diversity, disability


The Gift - Television programme, 2007, produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)

Story about the importance of friendship and support to a young girl living with cancer whose friends want to give her a gift. They want to give her a “perfect day”. Since she wants to be a model, her friends surprise her with a photo shoot and lessons from a real model, culminating in applauding her as she makes her debut in a fashion show. Message of true friendship, resilience and survival, which serves as a model for other topics related to illness, death, HIV/AIDS, emergencies, etc.

Themes: child protection, emergencies, HIV/AIDS


A Leg Up Short (two-minute) animated spot, 2007, created and produced by Bevin Carnes

Story without words based on creator/producer’s real-life experiences being teased and harassed for her differences as a child. A robot character cannot march along with other robots because one leg falls off. At first frustrated, trying to snap it back together, the robot eventually discovers that her leg can be a propeller and take her farther and faster than everyone else. Winner 2007 US Student Academy Award.

Themes: child protection, resilience, disability


Sports not Smoking - Radio spot, produced in 2010 at a capacity-building workshop supported by UNICEF Pacific Islands in Fiji


This is a public service spot where several young adolescents share their advice on why teens should not smoke.  It is positive, with an inclusive group of teens stressing the importance of being physically active, strong, obedient to their parents, and being in charge of taking care of their own bodies.


Themes: life skills, health, diversity, disability


      When Juhi was Growing Up - Book, 2000 by Jan Madyham


A low-literacy, high-interest book about sexual harassment developed specifically for young girls and adolescents with learning or intellectual difficulties and economic disadvantages who are on the verge of facing adulthood. The book has been used together with local workshops and puppet shows to help girls gain confidence and skills when faced with harassment. Questions based on real-life situations are posed to support animated text. It is unique in that communication about sexual harassment and exploitation often do not include the needs or developmental level of girls who are disabled. Download Book


Themes: life skills, health, diversity, disability


Becoming the World - Storytelling Training Project, (ongoing), created by Laura Siimms, originally for Mercy Corps 


The project combines traditional and modern stories to help children find safe places within themselves, especially those who have experienced trauma or natual disaster. Trians people to use ancient myth, fairytales and personal narrative on issues related to loss, trauma, peacemaking, tolerance and exploring social issues. Storytellers work with children who are or have lived as refugees and those surviving natural disasters. Used in Romania, Sierra Leone, Haiti, and New York City (post-September 11, 2001) <www.laurasimms.com>


Themes: child protection and resilience



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