Over 190 000 children walked for Unicef’s work on reading and writing skills in the spirit of Tove Jansson’s postcard illustration

The postcard illustration Tove Jansson painted for UNICEF in 1981 is also used in the materials of UNICEF Walks in Finland. By participating in UNICEF Walks, 190 287 Fininish pupils supported their age-mates in developing countries.

During her extensive career, Tove Jansson also worked together with different charity organizations and illustrated, for example, postcards for charity. In 1981, UNICEF’s Christmas card assortment included the card ‘March for Peace’, which has become a much-loved iconic item. In the card, many beloved Moomin characters, including Snufkin and Little My, march for peace.

In the fall of 2000, UNICEF asked Tove Jansson for her permission to reprint the card March for Peace. Tove was delighted at the request and said that she was more than happy to give consent. She was happy to do something good for children, although she was not able to paint anymore.

The illustration is now also used in the materials of UNICEF Walks in Finland. In the spirit of the Peace for March illustration, UNICEF has activated Finnish schools to walk for the ability to read and write.

Supporting the children of Myanmar

In 2021-2022, students, sponsors and UNICEF joined efforts to promote children’s schooling in Myanmar, one of the poorest countries in Asia. In the spirit of the illustration, over 190 000 children walked for Unicef’s work on reading and writing skills! Moomin Characters donates 0,5€ to Unicef Finland for each participant. During the school year, Moomin Characters donate 0.50 euros to UNICEF Finland for each child, 95 000€ in total, for participating in a UNICEF Walk. 

Before the event, the pupils get sponsors from among their relatives and/or friends who pledge to donate the amount of their choice for each pupil’s physical activity. It is also possible for a pupil to participate without a sponsor’s support. On the day of the event, the pupils get a sticker for each activity into their UNICEF Walk passport as well as an actual experience of impacting the world through their own actions. After the event, the sponsors donate a sum determined by the total number of earned stickers to UNICEF.

Learning emotional skills

As a part of the UNICEF walk campaign, Finland’s UNICEF has developed an online tool for schools with which pupils can practice emotional skills and multiliteracy. With the help of the tool and included Moomin GIFs, children and youth can write letters and put the feelings raised during global education into words. The tool is available in Finnish and Swedish.

The collaboration between UNICEF and Moomin Characters is part of the Reading, Writing and the Moomins initiative, which aims to strengthen the importance and joy of reading and writing in the life of children, youth and adults.