"A euphemistic interactive experience that is simple to understand, yet powerful in its message." —juror Michael Potts
"Powerful short, looping videos of young girls, my daughter’s age, standing on a page, waiting to be purchased. A dramatic take on the concept of ‘buying’ and ‘shopping’ with the end purchases going to a cause." —juror Kelly Goto
Overview: The goal of NGO Nanhi Kali is to provide underprivileged Indian girls with ten years of quality education. This awareness-raising project is a provocative e-commerce site where visitors can buy back the life of a young girl simply by purchasing the items she needs to get a proper education—the most effective way to break the cycle of sex slavery and underage marriage. Visitors to the site can buy the items girls need to attend school—backpacks, workbooks, uniforms and shoes—for the girls pictured on the site.
• Nanhi Kali’s goal is to reach out to 500,000 girls by March 2014; it currently supports 70,000 girls in 9 states in India.
• The site includes an animated video story of a young Indian girl with no set ending to her story. Visitor donations unlocked new chapters in the video’s series, and whether she got to school was completely up to the visitor.
• Within 24 hours all "stock" had sold out, and to date the site has received over three million hits, raising enough funds to send hundreds of girls to school.
Comments by Justin Via:
How did this project compare with others you've worked on in the past? "The Girl Store was polarizing. We got great feedback, but some people also felt offended. We've never experienced this sort of reaction before. It's nice to know a piece of work can still make people take action—for better or worse."
Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? "Yes. There are so many great charities in the world, it's difficult to create an emotional connection that'll get people to donate to a specific one."
How did your relationship with the client evolve over the course of the project? "Our client had the courage to do try something that made all of us feel a little uncomfortable, so I guess you could say the mutual trust ultimately strengthened the relationship."