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11 Skeptical Third World Child memes that will raise your awareness about poverty in Africa
We've all heard of the "Skeptical Third World Child" meme. But did you know it has lessons about poverty? - photo by Herb Scribner
Anyone who has used the Internet in the last three years has most likely seen the Skeptical Third World Child meme.

But do you know the story behind it?

BBC recently looked into the history behind the meme, which was originally posted three years ago on Reddit. The photo includes Heena Pranav, a 28-year-old doctor who was traveling in Gulua, a city in Uganda, through the Pros for Africa project, a charity that aids traumatized women in the country, BBC reported.

Pranav met the child in the photo, who was about 2 or 3, at a local marketplace and marveled at how animated he was. Pranavs friend then posted the photo on Reddit, and it became a worldwide, viral sensation overnight.

"I can't imagine this would have happened," Pranav told BBC. "I wished the kid and his mom could have known about it and somehow benefited from it, because I do think he was exploited in the process."

The meme has become a source of debate among many. Some see the photo as a way to bring awareness to an important cause, while others, like Pranav, are concerned that the photo makes fun of children in poverty and exploits the poor.

"It's difficult for us to be the moral police and say that's not very funny," Martine Jahre, the vice president of Students and Academics International Assistance Fund, told BBC. But I think people need to think more about what they're sharing and the messages that it gives. You wouldn't like it if your own kid became a meme that people made fun of all over the world. It really says a lot about how we think of 'us' and 'them.'"

But some say the image has actually put a human face to African poverty issues. Back in 2012, The Huffington Post reported that the meme originally was used to criticize the effectiveness of humanitarian efforts in Africa. In some of the memes, the text on the photo brings attention to those in Africa who dont get the necessary humanitarian efforts they need, HuffPost reported.

What might children in impoverished or disaster-stricken countries really be thinking when charities distribute T-shirts leftover from the Super Bowl? Or when celebrities swoop in amid famine or conflict to deliver relief? asked HuffPost. The meme attempts to fill in the blanks by giving voice to aid recipients in a tongue-in-cheek way.

The meme acted in a very similar way to the Third World Success meme, made popular in 2011, which often included captions about overcoming hardships that are associated with life in underdeveloped countries," The Daily Dot reported.