In a time of much uncertainty, Coins of Hope are working to unify the people of Europe for a common cause while inspiring the rest of the world. A movement of courage, creativity and conviction, 2 Euro coins are circulating throughout Europe to bring lost children home.
It was supposed to be a routine brain-storming session. It quickly became something much more. Now, an entire social movement blossoming throughout Europe, Coins of Hope, is influencing the purpose–and face—of coins forever.
Fighting to combat the number of children reported missing every year in Europe, The Belgian National Bank, These Days, and Child Focus joined forces to accomplish what they thought was impossible. After two years of tireless planning, pitching, and preparing, 1 million 2 Euro coins, referred to as “Coins of Hope,” have been struck at the Royal Mint in Brussels.
Unlike any coin ever struck in history, these coins feature the image of the youngest child in Belgium missing for an extended amount time - Liam Vanden Branden. In a devastating twist for his family, Liam disappeared from his grandparents’ home in Belgium back in 1996. That was 20 years ago, he has not been seen since.
Unfortunately, the story of Liam is not unusual. Statistics say that every two seconds, a child is reported missing in Europe. This sobering fact is what drives Belgian-based organization, Child Focus to prevent future disappearances and sexual exploitation of children, while offering accessible support to the families. Driven to elicit positive change in Europe, Child Focus enlisted the creative minds employed by communication agency, These Days.
Jolien Tuyteleers and Kate Bellefroid have worked tirelessly on the campaign as part of These Days’ creative team and told MCM:
“[Child Focus] never gives up hope, and does everything it takes to make families feel that they don’t stand alone. To do so, they need campaigns that stand out. People need to know that there are still a lot of children missing and so we have to keep them alive in our heads. That’s why we created Coins of Hope.”
The idea to put the face of Liam on a coin was brought on both by the fact that it would touch so many people, but also because it has historically been a place reserved for notable people.
“For over 2,000 years, coins have been the keepers of important faces. They carry the most shared portraits in the world: those of kings, queens, presidents. The perfect place for a face that really needs the everlasting attention,” said Bellefroid.
The Coins of Hope campaign drives to encourage people to reflect on the fate of all missing children. As the coins make their way across Europe through the hands of shoppers, and into the hearts of individuals, Content and Social Marketer for These Days, Chloe’ Van Elson, hopes it will render real results.
“If you consider the faith of these children and their families, you cannot help but be moved. Just think about the possibility that one of the people who received a Coin of Hope could be a crucial witness, a donor, or a volunteer that helps to bring a missing child home in the future. That would be amazing.”
The coins, which are being inserted into general circulation through the Lidl Supermarket chain in Belgium, have already surfaced in over a dozen countries. One of the coins found its way to Belgium citizen Vincent Butera while he was paying for groceries.Compelled to show his support to families who have endured such heartbreak, Butera stopped to share a picture of the coin on his social media channels. Like seeing two sides of a coin, he tells ModernCoinMart how Coins of Hope provoked mixed feelings for him:
“It makes me think on the one hand about sadness and on the other hand about hope. On the one hand about the innocence and on the other hand about human cruelty.”
Butera feels that for many of these children, hope is “the only reason to stay alive.”
Child Focus is encouraging people like Butera to post photos of themselves with a Coin of Hope on their social media channels using the #CoinsofHope hashtag. The interactive Coins of Hope website features live graphics showing the location of coins as they spread throughout Europe. To date, they have reached an estimated 15 million people through social media alone. In an effort to include a worldwide audience, users are invited to upload a photo of themselves holding a coin that they can then turn into a Coin of Hope virtually online.
In addition to civilian supporters, Coins of Hope have been shared by dignitaries such as Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (President of Malta), Rob Wainwright (Director of Europol), Baroness Joanna Shields (UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security) and many others. Though Coins of Hope are currently exclusively on the Euro, the These Days team encourages the concept to be implemented in other country’s currencies.
“Liam has become the symbol of hope for all missing children around the world….The best part about making these coins is that it is a permanent medium with infinite impressions across the Eurozone and the world."
In support of this remarkable movement, ModernCoinMart is thrilled to announce that we will be offering a limited quantity of the Coins of Hope commemorative strikes for our valued customers. We invite you check back here regularly for updates on when these precious coins will be available.
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