UN virtual girl to give voice to children in war

Sofia was modelled on the faces of hundreds of child victims of war.
Sofia was modelled on the faces of hundreds of child victims of war.PHOTO: UNICEF.SE

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - The UN has launched a video campaign to help shed light on the suffering of more than 250 million children, featuring a 3D character named Sofia, modelled on the faces of hundreds of child victims of war.

The UN children's agency hired PixelGrinder studios - a company that has worked on the Tintin adaptations, Avatar and Planet of the Apes - to model Sofia on the photos of 500 children taken in South Sudan, Burundi and Ukraine.

"We created Sofia to give a face to all the children that aren't visible to us. We wanted to give a voice to this silent emergency," Andreas Ericsson, a Unicef spokesman told AFP.

In the video, which was posted this week on Unicef Sweden's website, Sofia represents three different children.

One has just escaped gunmen, another is a cold refugee travelling in an inflatable boat, and the third longs to continue her disrupted education.

The name Sofia was chosen because it was one of the most popular baby names in 2015, according to Unicef, which is trying to highlight the plight of 250 million children living in, or fleeing from, forgotten wars.

"Sofia is a symbol for all the orphan children, all of them who have stopped growing due to poor nutrition and all of the children who have left their homes to find safety," Ericsson said.