If you saw a little girl by herself on the street, what would you do?
That's the premise of a new UNICEF video, in which Anano, a 6-year-old child actor, is put in two precarious situations while wearing two decidedly different outfits. First, the little girl stands alone on a Tbilisi, Georgia street by herself as dozens of adults pass by. While dressed as though her family has money — her hair brushed out just so, her shoes laced and polished — a number of complete strangers stop to help her.
When, with the help of a makeup artist, Anano is transformed to look as though she may be living on the street, the little girl is left to herself. No one offers her help.
But things take an especially surprising turn when she's sent into a restaurant to look for food.
Although patrons are happy to talk to her and have her sit at their tables in her "rich" outfit, Anano is rejected again and again when made up to look like a child in need.
The adults' treatment of Anano was so devastating that UNICEF actually had to end the experiment early because the little girl broke down and cried during one of the trials.
"Imagine what it's like for millions of children who are pushed aside every day," the U.N. branch says poignantly at the video's end.
Unfortunately, unless we begin to address world poverty, Anano's story will be all-too-common in the near future. UNICEF estimates that by 2030, at the rate we're moving, 167 million children will live in extreme poverty. Fortunately, it doesn't have to happen that way. By rallying behind organizations like UNICEF, we can pressure governments and development partners to invest more in the future of our children and help raise them out of poverty.