Street Art for Street Children

Posted on the 17th September 2015

Thursday 17 September, nurse London

The iconic Village Underground Wall in East London has been taken over by UK charity Street Child United as part of their global summit promoting the rights of street children and homeless youth across the world.

Artist Joel Bergner & Jessica in front of the mural copy

The UN estimates there are 150 million children at risk of the streets worldwide. These children are vulnerable to violence, viagra abuse and exploitation and suffer multiple and repeated violations of their rights.

The street-art for street children mural is a collaboration between Street Child United, the Village Underground – an arts venue and non-profit space for creativity and culture – and internationally renowned mural artist Joel Bergner. The mural aims to challenge the stigmas associated with children and youth living on the streets across the world.

The mural is at the Village Underground, on Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, on the biggest street-art wall in London.

It features a young woman shouting ‘I am Somebody” through a megaphone surrounded by young people with placards marching in support. The young woman is Jessica, who grew up in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jessica had to leave her home as a child and lived in a favela community dominated by drugs and weapons. Through football, Jessica found stability and new opportunities – she is now a Street Child United Ambassador for children at risk of the streets and mentor for young people in her community.

Jessica said, “I cannot describe this feeling to be part of this mural. My message is, never let go of your dreams. Fight for them!”

Mural Artist, Joel Bergner said of the design, “Millions of children have to live and work on the streets across the world. They are de-humanised and marginalised to the very edges of society – denied their basic human rights.

This mural is about these young people’s voices being heard because they are ‘Somebody’ – no matter their background, they should have access to the rights that every child and young person is entitled to.

To be able to paint the iconic Village Underground following on from many great artists is a real honour.”

SCU Mural Painters and Ambassadors copy

Jessica, helped finish the mural alongside five former street-connected young people, who are now Street Child United Ambassadors from Brazil, Burundi and Pakistan.

The mural was created as part of a Global Summit for Street Children’s rights which took place last week in East London from 7 – 11 September, uniting leaders and experts who work on the frontline with street-connected children from across the world.

John Wroe BEM, CEO of Street Child United said, “This is street art for street children. Art has the power to give young people a voice, challenge negative perceptions and capture people’s imaginations. It’s incredible to be able to bring the voices of street children to London as part of the Street Child United Summit and amplify them through East London’s vibrant street-art culture and of course the iconic Village Underground Wall.”

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