More than 18,000 children on the move have fallen under the radar in two years
Sunday, November 20 is World Children’s Day. Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen and mortierbrigade have chosen this opportunity to draw more attention to children on the move. Between 2018 and 2020, no fewer than 18,292 children disappeared in Europe (figures: Lost in Europe).
To draw attention to this sad figure, mortierbrigade and Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen have created a striking PR stunt. A statue of a child has been placed in place du Luxembourg, right across from the European institutions. The child is symbolically playing ‘hide and seek’ with friends and counts up to 18,292, which takes more than 9 hours without stopping. This figure matches the estimated number of missing children. The statue can be seen on rue du Luxembourg in Brussels from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 November. The stunt has already gotten national coverage in Belgian mainstream news media. Which is great. I think a sudden new statue in any city would get my attention, for sure, but I am growing a little tired of the "3D print" statue stunts which are sadly getting increasingly common. I believe that other statue materials will have more impact, and yes, I know that's more expensive, but there are still artists out there who can carve real stone or cast metal and it would be nice to see them getting involved. Perhaps their metal statues could even be sold at an auction raising money for the cause in this type of case.
“The current reception crisis in our country once again painfully highlights the vulnerability of these children. Since mid-October 2022, babies and young children have been sleeping on the streets with their families, as have 150 unaccompanied minors. This is not only unworthy for these children, above all, it compromises their safety, something that these minors so desperately need,” says Tine Claus, director of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen.
That is why Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen is linking this action to its open petition calling on Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and his government to step up and provide adequate shelter and care.
Volunteers are on hand over the 3 days to inform passers-by about the action, distributing leaflets and inviting them to sign the petition.
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