Comic Book Heroes Saving Real Lives


This year, Comic-Con shows its caring side with a panel about superheroes who save lives – not in comic books or on the silver screen but in real life. Cartoonist Craig Yoe will be joined by Stacie June of Unilever’s health soap brand Lifebuoy, to talk about how the ‘School of 5’ superheroes primarily through their comic books (along with School of 5 animation, radio shows, music, games, and walk-around characters) are saving the lives of children across the world by changing handwashing behaviors.

Every 15 seconds, one child dies from diarrhoea or pneumonia, diseases that are preventable through the simple act of handwashing with soap.  That is 1.7 million children every year.

Yoe, and his partner Clizia Gussoni, worked with Lifebuoy to create the team of ‘School of 5’ superheroes and their adventures, capturing the imaginations of kids, teaching them to wash their hands five times a day and to get their parents and siblings in the program, too. The handful of superheroes are Sparkle, the big sister-type and the wise leader of the gang, Hairyback, a big furry and lovable master of bubbles, and the germ-busting triplets Biff, Bam and Pow. These 5 superheroes work together to bring this lifesaving habit to life and fight the yuckiest villain of all, the evil Nogood.
The School of 5 comic books are distributed in 23 countries in 19 languages across Asia, Africa, and South America, with a circulation of 20 million reaching over 120 million people as part of the world’s largest hygiene behavior change program. Running over the course of 21 days, Lifebuoy’s ‘School of 5’ uses a unique combination of comics, puzzles, stories and games to guide kids and their parents through the behavior change process. All the activities are designed to make handwashing a cool, fun and interesting activity with the fervent rallying cry of the School of 5 “Don’t be a dope, always use soap!” Go to this moving video about the little comic book that’s saving millions of lives:

Yoe has brought his past experience as a creative director for The Muppets, Disney and Nickelodeon and his work with Marvel and DC Comics and used this knowledge on what he calls, “The feel good project of a life-time!” Yoe says, “Imagine using superheroes and comics to actually save the lives of kids around the world. The School of 5 program shows the power that comics have and how they can be used as an incredible force for good. Yoe says, “This is taking what I learned from reading Spider-Man: ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ and bringing it to a real-world vital mission!”

Stacie June, Lifebuoy Global Social Mission Programme Manager said “Behaviour change for any group is hard but to engage with children and make a habit stick you really need to make it fun and engaging. Craig’s superheroes do just that. “

Don’t miss Craig and Stacie at Comic-Con on Saturday 26 July 2014 at 7:30PM in Room 26AB for their panel – Superheroes Can Save Lives – For Real!

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