Meet the “Unicoin,” the world’s first currency dedicated to doing good. Launched by the H&M Conscious Foundation on behalf of the United Nations Children’s Fund, the virtual lucre enables children to use art to support their peers in the developing world. Kids earn a single Unicoin whenever they upload a picture illustrating their grown-up aspirations to www.unicoins.org. H&M then matches each Unicoin with educational supplies, including a notebook and pencil, for UNICEF to distribute to child in need. This initiative, according to the Swedish retailer, aims not only to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood development but also provides an opportunity for people to help.
KIDS FOR KIDS
More than 200 million children under the age of 5 in developing countries are hampered from reaching their full cognitive potential because of poverty, poor health and nutrition, and deficient care, says Pia R. Britto, senior advisor at UNICEF’s chief early childhood development section.
“One out of three children in the developing world don’t achieve their full potential before entering primary school due to causes linked to poverty, lack of access to learning opportunities, poor health, and malnutrition,” Britto says. “But together we can change this by providing the most disadvantaged children with access to early childhood care and education.”
The Unicoin campaign is part of a wider “Global Program for Education” that H&M launched with UNICEF in 2014. In February of that year, the retailer announced a $9.3 million grant, disbursed over three years, to enable UNICEF to reach 73,600 children with early childhood development programs.
“No matter where you live, all children have one thing in common: the ability to dream,” Charlotte Brunnström, program manager for education at the H&M Conscious Foundation, said in a statement. “By sharing children’s drawings, we can help more children to reach their full learning potential and build a better future for themselves.”