To celebrate ten years of Save the Children's Christmas Jumper Day, famous faces from across the nation have joined forces to amplify the urgent changes that children want to see in the world.
The striking images, shot by celebrated photographer Misan Harriman, connects influential names from the worlds of fashion, film and music with young people’s messages of protest and hope for the future.
Launching a month before Christmas, the series aims to give children from communities across the globe a platform to share the changes they want to see in the world – from reducing pollution to ending racism – and share their messages of hope for the future.
“Defend the rights of girls” are the poignant words written by 14-year-old Maya from Syria and chosen by Helen Mirren to feature in her portrait.
Maya, who now lives in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan is a powerful advocate for the rights of girls and is determined to end child marriage. Supported by Save the Children to deliver advocacy training in the camp, Maya now helps to raise awareness among parents of child marriage and the importance of female empowerment.
“I always tell girls to defend their rights, to defend their roles and to be the voice of all women in the community. I tell them don’t stay quiet,” she says.
“A girl has dreams, a future and many other things. We must prevent early marriage, prevent harassment and prevent anything that might be a factor in destroying girls’ lives.”
Actor Nicholas Hoult is photographed with a placard featuring the simple message, “Ban plastic. Reduce pollution.” Written by siblings James and Isla who attend a school in Port Talbot supported by Save the Children, the message is an important reminder of the weight the climate crisis bears for children across the globe.
Speaking of his involvement in the campaign, Nicholas said:
“I think kids are very aware of how non-renewable sources of energy or materials are destroying the earth around us and that’s what they’re going to have to deal with. We can all do better, whether it’s reducing our use of plastic bags or recycling better.
“We can all see the damage we’re doing to the earth and, for kid’s futures, we need to change that.”
Other influential artists and activists involved in the campaign include activist Munroe Bergdorf, actor Will Poulter, supermodel Erin O’Connor, BAFTA winning actress Bukky Bakray, singer Yungblud and model and actress Poppy Delevingne.
Harriman, whose work ranges from chronicling the Black Lives Matter movement to becoming the first black man to shoot a cover of British Vogue, said:“I believe children have a wisdom we can all learn from. One of the signs by a young lady called Lulu says, “you cannot create change in complacency,” and that is profoundly true. I think we can learn more from children than they could ever learn from us.
“My reaction when I saw the messages of protest and hope was that children are really facing a tough time. If we think life can be hard, imagine how hard it is when you’re watching adults make mistake after mistake and knowing that your future is being compromised because of that.
“I’m so proud to be part of this campaign because I was a child once and I remember how it feels to have your own hopes and passions ignored. I believe Save the Children let so many young minds know that they can dare to dream and have a life that is full of purpose.”
As well as amplifying the voices of children around the world, the series carries another important message about sustainability. Each celebrity featured in the portraits is wearing a one-off beautiful vintage jumper – some of which will be distributed back into Save the Children stores across the country and available to buy from 1st December- to highlight the charity’s attempts to make its tenth Christmas Jumper Day the most sustainable yet.
It comes as new research by the charity found that two in ten Brits have brought a second-hand knit (20%) and over half of Brits (54%) are planning to buy second-hand gifts this Christmas in a bid to be more sustainable.
The unique vintage jumpers include a vintage knitted mohair star-print jumper, worn by actress and model Poppy Delevingne, and a handmade knitted jumper featuring candy canes and festive decorations, modelled by BAFTA winning actress Bukky Bakray.
This year, the charity is encouraging people to decorate an old jumper, borrow one from a friend or shop second-hand from one if its 115 charity shops across the country.
Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day aims to bring some much-needed festive cheer to the nation this Friday 10th December. Now in its tenth year, Christmas Jumper Day has raised over £27 million for Save the Children since its launch in 2012.
To take part, wear your favourite Christmas Jumper on 10th December and donate £2 at www.christmasjumperday.org.