Children of Fire Rehabilitation Centre

The Jupiter Drawing Room (Johannesburg) developed a campaign for Children of Fire that capitalised on the Throwback Thursday (or #TBT) trend on social media, in order to raise awareness of the work that the NGO does with burn survivors.

Brief & Challenge

We were challenged to develop an awareness campaign that raised funds for the non-profit rehabilitation centre to continue to turn child burn victims into child burn survivors. The campaign needed to support their vision of helping to improve the quality of life for burn survivors across Africa.

As with many non-profit causes, resources were limited. The team needed to develop a campaign that would not rely on paid media. The campaign had to be relevant and eye-catching and stand out in an environment in which many other charities and brands were clamouring for attention.

Insight & Solution

We understood that one of the most effective ways to gain traction on social media was to join in on existing, high profile and popular trends. One of the most prolific hashtag trends is that of #ThrowbackThursday, where more than 320 million people have posted or reposted pictures of their past or childhoods.

The campaign was built around a number of posts of burn survivors housed at the Children of Fire rehabilitation centre in Johannesburg, holding a photograph of their former selves from before the disaster. Each post was supported by a call for donations to enable the organisation to continue offering child burn survivors reconstructive surgery, many of whom had been left without families, homes, clothing, parents or domestic necessities.


By joining this global social media conversation, they were able to introduce the story of child burn survivors into a new and unexpected environment. The strategy was to be disruptive and awaken society to the harsh, irreversible realities that burn survivors face on a daily basis by demonstrating that while most of the world’s population finds posting reminders of the past, fun and nostalgic, unfortunately, for burn survivors this trend holds painful memories of what life was like before their tragedy.

Within 24 hours, posts and commentary of #Throwbackthursday, #TBT, #Childrenoffire and #ChiFi generated a reach of over 109 789, a spread of more than 327 724, 57 859 unique impressions. This put an unknown charity on the map, and continues to bring in donations as fast as the campaign spreads. The work further inspired media outlets to feature the campaign and the agency is looking at how it can be expanded it in the future, making a difference to more lives than were ever expected.