takes hours to scroll through. But that’s nothing compared to the journey children endure daily.
Children in the West African country of Sierra Leone walk up to nine miles to get to school – on dirt paths lined with deadly snakes, through monsoons, in 100-degree heat with little to no drinking water, past abandoned diamond mines filled with malaria-ridden water, and down roads dominated by sexual predators. Then, after their last class, they have to walk home.
To help raise awareness for the nonprofit Shine On Sierra Leone
– an organisation dedicated to building new schools that bring education closer to the children’s homes – David&Goliath created a powerful campaign that includes 9milescroll.com, OOH posters, billboards and an Instagram initiative featuring 9 influencers who tagged each other consecutively in one of the 9 miles of the children’s journey. Influencers include Zoe Kravitz (@zoeisabellakravitz), Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson), Nura Afia (@nuralailalov), Sammy Wilk (@sammywilk), Cree Summer (@iamcreesummer), and Saul Williams (@saulwilliams).
The 9-mile online journey helps contextualise the walk, which can take kids 3-5 hours on foot (and users 3-5 hours to scroll through), for those of us fortunate enough to be living in places where education is more accessible. As the user embarks on their 9-mile scroll, from the village to the school, they experience what the children go through day in and day out.
“We have so much to be thankful for in the US, from work opportunities to technology to clean water and especially access to education. These are liberties we often take for granted,” said David Angelo, Founder & Chairman of D&G. “When I think about the kids in Sierra Leone who, under some of the worst conditions, walk 9 miles each way for an education, I am both inspired and humbled. They show true bravery and self-determination every day. We wanted to shine a spotlight on the plight of these amazing kids by creating a virtual experience of their commute to help raise awareness – and eventually funds – to build a school that’s in their backyard.”
Ultimately, the goal of the campaign is to drive donations in order to raise enough money to build another school closer to the children’s homes—so they have an alternative to working in diamond mines and so they can pursue their dreams, just as we can pursue ours. At the end of the day, no child should have to embark on this arduous journey just for an education. Now, it’s time to let the world experience it for themselves, and ask: How far would you go for an education?
“There are children in Sierra Leone who put more mileage on their feet than we do on our cars daily. That’s something we have the power to change,” said Greg Buri, Creative Director, David&Goliath. “Education is a scarce resource there and it shouldn’t be, or anywhere. By partnering with Shine On Sierra Leone, our hope is that 9milescroll.com will give people a new appreciation for just how far children go for the opportunity to learn and support their journey.”
Quote from Sierra Leonean: “9milescroll.com is so powerful…my memories started activating when I used to walk alone, by myself to school and back home…Wondering where my mom and dad were. Back then I was living with my Aunty in Kenema without my parents from age 4yrs to 6yrs. 9 Miles is so deep that it made me cry. I personally forgot about all those lonely, long and scary walks!! Amazing!” ~ Awa Kamara [Native Sierra Leonean Designer who currently lives in Austria]
Quote from Tiffany Persons, Founder, Shine On Sierra Leone: “Children around the world endure journeys beyond our imagination on the quest for an education. In Sierra Leone, these long and many times dangerous walks are the norm for every student living in the rural regions of Sierra Leone. Although the distance varies from student to student based on the location of village, (some walk 5 miles, some walk 9 miles) one thing remains the same - the thirst for education is powerful and fuels them to walk whatever the distance for the opportunity to learn!”
Chief Creative Officer: Bobby Pearce
Creative Agency: David&Goliath, LA
Founder: David Angelo
Group Account Directors: Stacia Parseghian
Head of Strategy: Kristen Knape (Associate)
Senior Designer: Katherine Ahn
Account Supervisor: Lauren Gluck
Data & Analytics : Shaun Jacobs
Developer: Ben Smith (Senior Developer)
Digital Designer: Meagan Steincamp
Director of Digital Production: Peter Bassett
Senior Digital Producer: Noah Luger
Social Strategist: Noelle Suarez (Junior)
Sr. Social Strategist: Natalie Gomez
UX Designer: John Randall
Associate Creative Director: Bernice Chao, Chris Mead