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What are you buying into?

World Vision
9 July 2015 by Ruby Wharton
What are you buying into?

VGen's new campaign #EndChildLabour asks the question, how do your dreams impact child labour?

Every day, we make choices about what we consume. The clothing brand we splurge on, the daily caffeine hit we indulge in, the lunch we make ourselves and the chocolate bar that gets us through that late night study session.

They aren’t typically choices that require much brain-power, as we make habits which put our spending on auto-pilot.

What we do put more thought into are the choices that we believe define us: our dreams and aspirations. Everyone has something they strive towards. Maybe yours is one day being a barista, a designer, a lawyer or a footballer. With a bit of hard work, these are all dreams available for the taking.

But what if the day-to-day choices you make are denying people across the world exactly those chances that you take for granted. What if those routine decisions about where and what to buy- the coffee on your way to work, the dress for Saturday’s party, the footy you muck around with every weekend- are at the expense of someone else’s dreams?


When you buy….what are you buying into?

This is the core question of VGen and World Vision Australia’s newly launched campaign #EndChildLabour. Because our consumer choices don’t just define our daily lives, but the lives of children across the world, who are trapped in forced and manual labour.  And we’re not just talking about a few faces here; today one in ten children worldwide over 5 years of age are child labourers. That’s approximately 168 million children worldwide.

But it’s not all bad news. Thanks to passionate people around the world placing pressures on government, businesses and their communities, the occurrence of child labour has decreased by over 30% in the past 15 years!

VGen launched a video to mark World Day Against Child Labour on June 12th. We asked Bardie Barclay-Sutton, our National Innovations Coordinator, to give us a behind-the-scenes insight into what it took to create our video and the message she hopes you will all take away from it.

What is #EndChildLabour all about?

The #EndChildLabour campaign is about reminding youth that we have the individual and collective power to pressure and shape industries to be fair and free from child labour. It’s about educating youth that the end of child labour is within all of our reach, it’s probably actually sitting in our back pocket or bag right now – our wallet.

The video focuses around the idea of our dreams and aspirations driving our own lives. It makes the point that these dreams could be trapping children around the world in forced labour. Why did you take this angle and how did you effectively portray it?

By focusing on our dreams I wished for us to reflect on our shared humanity. I chose to take this angle because I believe the publics’ perception of those living in poverty is still tainted by an air of distance, which prevents individuals from becoming engaged in actively fighting against some of the worst injustices in the world today, such as child labour. Through this video I wanted to show how in our globalised world we are inherently connected, most simply through our everyday products and purchases. Unfortunately for many of us, this connection means we are unknowingly supporting child labour. Although, I think we can all agree, to dream and to have a childhood shouldn’t be determined by the borders within which one is born, and it certainly shouldn’t be taken away due to the consumer desires of someone like me.

VGen volunteers behind-the-scenes making the #EndChildLabour video!

VGen volunteers behind-the-scenes making the #EndChildLabour video!

What are the key messages you wanted people to take from the video?

Change starts with you. As consumers, we have the power to vote for the world we want to see with every single dollar we spend. The end of child labour is made possible by people like you and me making conscious choices to show we won’t stand for child labour any more. But change doesn’t only stem from bank accounts, it needs a chorus of voices and we, the youth, can make sure this happens when we start a conversation worth having and raise awareness of the human cost behind our purchases.

What kind of action would you like to see young people taking after they watch this video?

  1. Be conscious when making a purchase. Think about: where was this made, who made it, and under what conditions.
  2. Make a commitment to yourself to switch to purchasing ethically, you can start small with coffee or chocolate and work your way up to familiarizing yourself with the ethical ratings of your go-to fashion brands – maybe even make some tough switches or lobby your favourites to clean up their act.
  3. Talk to those around you, share what you’ve learnt and, most importantly, how it made you feel to realize that there’s a human cost to everything we buy. Every product tells a story so encourage people to dig deeper and ask, what am I buying into?
Ruby Wharton Ruby Wharton

Ruby is a volunteer with World Vision Australia's youth movement, VGen.


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