A movement is gaining momentum on social media to change the viral #SavetheChildren hashtag to #SaveOurChildren instead. This is because the #SavetheChildren hashtag is associated with the humanitarian aid organization Save the Children, which is supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with many other foundations and organizations. Some social media users believe Gates — the subject of many unproven or false conspiracy theories — benefits from the hashtag and have launched a campaign to get others to stop using it.
Save the Children is a humanitarian aid organization that has been around since 1919 and works to help at-risk children across the world.
Here’s what you need to know:
With Support From the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save the Children Has Funded Emergency Food Aid, Medical Care & ‘Futuristic Bedding’ for Babies in Africa
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated to Save the Children, which is dedicated to helping children worldwide who are in poverty, fleeing violence, orphaned, abandoned, or abused. According to its website, Save the Children is the world’s first global charity for children and was founded in 1919. The website notes:
We’re passionately committed to one goal: Giving all children the best chance for the future they deserve – a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Every day and in times of crisis. Here in the U.S. and around the world. Whatever it takes. In fact, we’ve been the world’s leading charity for children for 100 years.
During President Bill Clinton’s administration, the Gates Foundation donated $50 million to Save the Children in the form of a five-year grant. The grant was focused on saving newborns across the world through low-cost programs and technologies. The grant included expanding maternal tetanus toxoid immunizations, vitamin and mineral supplements, breastfeeding promotion and having access to family planning resources.
On Save the Children’s Strategic Foundation Partnerships webpage, the site notes that hundreds of foundations partner to help them help children across the world. One photo has the caption: “An eleven-day-old baby is cared for with help from a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”
In 2002, the Gates Foundation gave $1 million to Save the Children and CARE to help fund emergency food aid for two million people starving in Malawi, Philanthropy News Digest reported.
In February 2019, the Gates Foundation teamed up with Save the Children and an Israeli tech company called EarlySense to create a pilot program at hospitals in Kenya to provide “futuristic bedding” that could alert medical staff of life-threatening emergencies, according to From the Grapevine. The device, when placed under a mattress, monitors sleeping babies for changes in breathing or cardiac patterns that could be signs of medical distress.
On its corporate partners webpage, Save the Children lists Accenture, BlackRock, BVLGARI, C&A and C&A Foundation, Facebook, GSK, IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Penguin Random House, P&G, Mondeléz International & Mondeléz International Foundation, The TJX Companies, Inc., TOMS and more.
Save the Children Has Mobilized Against Child Trafficking
Save the Children’s website notes that the organization reached more than 134 million children in 120 countries in 2018. The organization notes that it works whenever crisis strikes. The organization’s work includes U.S. programs focused on literacy, early education, health and disaster preparedness, along with global programs in 120 countries that involve education, health and protection programs.
Save the Children has also mobilized against child trafficking. The site notes:
Save the Children works to combat child trafficking through prevention, protection, and prosecution. In order to maximize our efforts, we work with communities, local organizations and civil society, and national governments to protect children from being exploited – and to help restore the dignity of children who have survived.
The #SavetheChildren hashtag has recently gone viral in association with fighting child trafficking. On August 5, the hashtag was briefly censored on Facebook, with an accompanying warning about community guidelines. Some people said they were reporting to Facebook disturbing photos and pages that they’d seen and had tagged them with #SavetheChildren to spread the word and ask others to report the pages too. The hashtag may have been auto-censored because of the disturbing photos that were tagged with it. Heavy reached out to Facebook for comment. Facebook responded to request the names of some of the groups that were being reported but did not comment on why the hashtag had been censored. The hashtag was later restored and is working again.
Some people who shared the #SavetheChildren hashtag are now asking for others to use #SaveOurChildren instead so the hashtag isn’t confused with the Save the Children organization. Others still use both hashtags together.
Bill Gates, Who’s Put Millions Toward Preparing for Pandemics, Said It Was Ironic That He Was the Focus of Pandemic Conspiracies
The movement to change the hashtag is, in part, because of a number of unproven or false conspiracy theories circulating about Bill Gates. The discovery of Gates’ donating to Save the Children led some social media users to no longer want to use that hashtag. Some posts shared on Facebook asking people to switch to the #SaveOurChildren hashtag are going viral, and similar messages about the hashtags are going viral on Twitter.
It should be noted that Save the Children is not owned or run by Bill Gates, even though the Gates Foundation does donate to it. The organization also has no ties to child trafficking, except for the work it has done to fight child trafficking.
Gates himself has been the subject of a number of unproven or false conspiracy theories, especially related to coronavirus and his work on vaccines. Gates has been critical of President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic, including his decision to stop funding the World Health Organization.
Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020
In a television interview with CGTN, Gates was asked about all the conspiracy theories circulating about him. He responded:
I’d say it’s ironic that you take someone who’s doing their best to get the world ready and putting, in my case, billions of dollars into these tools for infectious diseases, and really trying to solve broadly infectious diseases — including those that cause pandemics. But we’re in a crazy situation, so there’s going to be crazy rumors.
You can watch his response below. CGTN is part of the China Global Television Network.
In fact, Gates has been warning about pandemics for more than a decade and donated hundreds of millions to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Gates has been the target of many coronavirus conspiracies and anti-vaccination conspiracy theories. The New York Times reported that groups like QAnon were falsely accusing Gates of planning to use a pandemic to gain control of the health system worldwide.