On an ordinary November day, our lives changed irrevocably.
COVID-19, a single-stranded RNA genome invisible to the naked eye, highjacked our normalcy - challenging 8 billion people to redefine who we are, how we live, how we think, how we work and more importantly, how we survive as a species.
For an undetermined amount of time, COVID-19 will be an exceedingly, prodigious undertaking. Now try to explain this layered, complex reality to a child – no easy task.
A collaboration of more than 50 organizations in the humanitarian sector including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies and Save the Children, produced ‘My Hero is You’, a story to help children (6 to 11 years-of-age) learn how to protect themselves, their families and friends - and come to terms with COVID-19.
‘Ario’, the fantasy creature and lead character in the story, teaches a child how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality.
“During the early stages of the project, more than 1700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world shared how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. The input was invaluable to script writer and illustrator Helen Patuck and the project team in making sure that the story and its messages resonated with children from different backgrounds and continents,” says World Health Organization.
“All over the world, children’s lives have been completely upended – the majority of them living in countries with some form of restricted movement or lockdown. This wonderful book helps children understand and navigate this new landscape and learn how they can take small actions to become the heroes in their own stories,” says Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF.
‘My Hero is You’ is a project of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies, national and international nongovernmental organizations and international agencies providing mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings.
Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization said, “Previous humanitarian emergencies have shown us how vital it is to address the fears and anxiety of young people when life as they know it gets turned upside down. We hope that this beautifully-illustrated book, which takes children on a journey across time zones and continents, will help them to understand what they can do to stay positive and keep safe during the Coronavirus outbreak.”
My Hero is You’ is available in 6 languages as both an online product and audio book and will be translated into more than 30 languages, reaching as many children as possible.
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