You don't need to understand Swedish to get the gist of this ad, which is causing some troubled reaction in Sweden - a beautiful young mom (or caretaker) in a light-filled apartment does the dishes, coos to the baby and then fills a baby bottle with dirty dishwater and feeds it to the child. The image is disturbing, effective, and put out by none other than the Swedish Church, which wanted to highlight the plight of countries worldwide that don't have access to clean drinking water. The campaign has garnered thousands of contributions at the same time that its drawn some Swedes' ire.According to the Swedish Church, four children die each minute from lack of clean water, which can lead to deadly diarrhea.
Surprisingly, the reactions to the film have included criticism that the woman in the ad is white, giving the dirty water to a white baby. That was one reaction the Swedish Church said it hadn't expected.
Margareta Grape, the Swedish Church's foreign minister, said in a press statement that she believes people need thought-provoking and challenging images like those contained in the ad to wake up and realize that clean water issue are severe, but also that they can be solved.
Since the campaign began on Swedish TV this month (it ended this Sunday March 28), the Church has received over 5,000 new text-based contributions to its clean water program of 50 crowns (approximately $6.50) each. The Church undertakes a number of clean water projects all over the world, including tree planting, building outdoor toilets, distributing water disinfecting powder, setting up water towers, and installing spigots.
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