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In Germany alone, 2.8 million children and young people are growing up in poverty. This often means fewer educational opportunities, social marginalisation, shame, anxiety and fear. Launched by Divimove's informal educational initiative MESH Collective in partnership with the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the #StopptKinderarmut ('End child poverty') initiative is now really hitting its stride: starting this week, six high-reach social influencers spanning a range of genres will be reporting on their personal experiences of child poverty andgiving a voice to those affected. In YouTube videos and on social media, they will raise awareness of the issue and talk openly about the impact that living at or below the poverty line has on young people. The initiative kicked off on Monday with a video by Andre. The YouTuber, who found fame with comedy trio ApeCrime, experienced marginalisation and stigmatisation when his alcoholic father kicked him out of the house at the age of just 13. In the video, he and his wife discuss the impact that poverty had on him.
Over the coming weeks, five more influencers will raise awareness of the issue among their communities. Abdel too was directly affected by poverty during his childhood. On his channel, he will report about his experience and about the shame he felt. For Kati Karenina, school trips were not something she could take for granted. She will highlight the issue of poverty-related bullying. In his video, rapper Matondo will engage with child poverty through music. justCaan, who was raised by a hard-working single mother together with his three siblings, will focus on individual support for young people, while Leeroy Matata will chat to individuals affected by child poverty in his interview series Leeroy will's wissen! (Leeroy wants to know!). Last week, as part of the initiative, a video was released featuring children and young people talking about their own experiences of poverty. Speaking in the safe confines of the 'black box', they poignantly recount the effect living inpoverty has had on their lives. Their monologues are interspersed with statements by celebrities who personally experienced childhood poverty when they were growing up.
"One in five children in our country grows up in poverty. That has to change. We're incredibly pleased that the topic is now gaining wider attention thanks in part to #StopptKinderarmut. Between them, the six participating social influencers have over 4.3 million subscribers on YouTube, so we'll be reaching a broad target group. I'm certain that the initiative can have a political impact, not least because of the celebrity support," says Julia Althoff, Head of MESH Collective.
In September, to round off the initiative, MESH Collective and the Bertelsmann Stiftung plan to present specific demands to the German government. YouTuber Hatice Schmidt has written an open letter supported by celebrity ambassadors such as Henry Maske, Katja Burkard, Frank 'Buschi' Buschmann and many more.