Dubai Cares brings learning experience from refugee camp to UAE residents


DUBAI, 22nd November 2016 (WAM)– A showcase featuring a 360-degree virtual reality film, captured in a refugee school within a Syrian refugee camp, has been made available to to the public in Dubai by Dubai Cares, part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, a foundation launched last year to improve the Arab world through humanitarian, developmental and community work.

The video, which can be viewed through virtual reality headsets, allows viewers to follow a young Syrian student in a refugee school as well as listen to her mother telling the story behind the family’s quest for education, the philanthropic organisation said.

The virtual reality video aims to highlight the vulnerability of children whose education has been impacted or denied altogether and allow a glimpse of the hope that Dubai Cares is instilling in the lives of children affected by conflict and natural disasters.

Today, one in 113 people is either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum, and more than half of the world’s refugees are children. Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugees, according to Dubai Cares.

Dubai Car’s participation in the UAE Innovation Week is marked with a number of thought-provoking and innovative showcases taking place at Boulevard at Emirates Towers and Mall of the Emirates from 20th to 26th November and 21th to 26th November respectively, under the theme “Innovation in Education in Emergencies”.

The UAE Innovation Week is a nationwide celebration of innovation for everyone in the UAE in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“As part of the production process of the LastILearned campaign which we launched on the 19th of October 2016, we visited various countries affected by conflict and natural disasters to document the real stories of children affected by emergencies. During our visit to a Syrian refugee camp, we were inspired by the stories we heard from children and their parents and we came back with the decision to participate in the UAE Innovation Week and make use of virtual reality beyond gaming and entertainment, as a tool for immersive and impactful storytelling,” Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares said.

In addition to the virtual reality video, the showcase features an interactive touchscreen map that provides visitors an insight into Dubai Cares’ work in developing countries, particularly in those affected by emergencies such as Lebanon, Niger, Palestine and Sierra Leone.

It includes multimedia and information on Dubai Cares’ programmes in 45 developing countries. It also features a variation of the “Would you rather” game which highlights the impossible choices people affected by emergencies have to make on a daily basis.

In October 2016, Dubai Cares announced 3 new innovative programmes addressing Education in Emergencies in Lebanon, Niger and Sierra Leone. The programmes are part of “Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action” (3EA), which is a new initiative that brings together Dubai Cares, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Global TIES for Children /New York University (NYU) in a pioneering three-year initiative that seeks to have a catalytic effect on the Education in Emergencies sector by testing the impact of key interventions in these emergency settings.

“Through our participation in the UAE Innovation Week, we are hoping to encourage the community to take an active role in reshaping the philanthropic landscape in the UAE by giving them a glimpse into the world of educational philanthropy and bring to their attention the plight of children who have suffered and are still suffering from wars, catastrophes and crises,” Al Gurg added.