tv United Nations 21st Century LINKTV May 13, 2016 12:30am-1:01am PDT
in ways that i don't think is really completely understood. narrator: but can it be used for more than just entertainment? man: they come out of it very deeply mov. i'd say half of the people who watch cry. narrator: using virtual reality to create empathy in humanitarian crisis, one viewer at a time. humanitarian crises are all too familiar to television viewers. civil wars that cause huge movements of refugees. worldwide pandemics. and natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. this is the way most of us are used to seeing these heartwrenching events--on a screen in front of us, watching
passively. but what if you could step into the frame and actually feel what it's like for the individuals on the ground? man: people come out of it feeling enlightened and often moved and often ready to take action. a lot of people automatically say, "well, what can i do? how can i get involved?" narrator: gabo arora is a creative director leading a team at the united nations who are using cutting-edge technology to raise awareness, empathy, and funds, both to respond to humanitarian crises and to bolster support for a new set of sustainable development goals around the globe. arora: virtual reality is the ability to really take part in a story that usually you're only a passive spectator of and it's giving you the possibility to walk in another person's shoes, understand where they live, see what their world
is like, and you actually get the sensation of feeling like you're being there. narrator: depicting virtual reality in a 2-d medium, such as the one you see on your screen right now, will never truly represent what it's like when viewing vr through a headset. by using multiple cameras that can record in all directions, and software that can stitch the images together, virtual reality creates an experience that enables the viewer to see a movie from every angle. above, below, and behind. arora: it's exciting for the u.n., you know, to be involved in some of those early experiments of how we're trying to tell stories, make these films, and work with some of the most cutting-edge people in the industry on it. man: so, the u.n. reached out to us and connected and we realized that there was a great opportunity here to tell some very important stories and to tell them in a way that we thought would be totally new
and highly impactful. narrator: aaron koblin, a technologist working in silicon valley, is the co-founder of vrse, a virtual reality production and distribution company. koblin: usually it consists, in the portable form, of a mobile phone that connects directly into a viewer. so, whether that's a higher-end version like the gear vr with samsung or a google cardboard unit, you have basically the same idea--lenses which are-- using sensors to orient you and convince yourself that you're somewhere where you're not. this is the most basic vr viewer. it's a google cardboard. so, it comes like this and then you quickly assemble it like so. drop your phone in here like that. so, you can look around and actually be immersed. the way that i define virtual reality at this point in time is basically the hacking of your senses to convince you that you're somewhere other than where you are. often, i think of it as a sense
of vulnerability. so, one of the things we've realized in some of our stories is you have a heightened sense of empathy and a heightened sense of connection as a result of that vulnerability. narrator: that heightened sense of connection and empathy was exactly what gabo arora was looking to create at the world economic forum in davos, switzerland. not only to inspire leaders to take action, but also to influence donors to increase funding for disaster response efforts. arora: i'd started experimenting with using innovative ways of advocacy, and i started talking to a lot of different partners and people--what could we do that would be incredible? and someone said, you know, i just came from a meeting at samsung and, you know, [indistinct] virtual reality headsets. wouldn't it be amazing if you got all of those elite people who could actually go to a refugee camp, or they could go to an ebola clinic. i just really felt it would get our
issues highlighted. koblin: one of the things we were most excited about was the potential to get these headsets onto heads that really make the decisions and have impact on the world. we're able to put it on the heads of these changemakers, and for a brief moment, put them on the ground in the refugee camp. and it's, i think, a really powerful thing. you could see the way that it was impacting them. narrator: in addition to the screenings at davos, virtual reality portals have been set up to view the films at high-level political forums around the world. one of the leaders who made use of the vr portal was samantha power, united states ambassador to the united nations. power: what the portal does is it doesn't just give you those faces. it's not just a newspaper, but you feel like you're right there. narrator: the virtual reality film that she watched was "clouds over sidra." arora: "clouds over sidra" is a
short film in virtual reality about a girl named sidra who lives in zaatari camp, which is a syrian refugee camp in jordan. and it is a story about a young girl who has been there for a year and a half, and is giving you a tour of the camp, of what it's like, what her life is like. when the film debuted in davos, ta sensation to everyone we showed it to, they come out of it very deeply who watch "clouds over sidra" cry. koblin: we're seeing generally a much higher level of engagement. i mean, one, because they're actively engaged in looking around, but also i think a higher level of emotional connection and empathy. arora: the film was then integrated with the secretary-general in the kuwait pledging conference for syria. he made everyone at the reception at the pledging conference watch it, and it really made a big difference
on getting people to pledge more and to care more and to be more involved. and then we cut a version for unicef, where it's face-to-face fundraisers. the way they do that is usually someone with a clipboard on the street in europe or different countries. so, they thought, well, what if we got people to experience virtual reality on the street? [girl speaking native language] man: i was a little depressed about the situation for the people there. woman: quite sad. they don't have a good environment to stay in. we try our best to help them. narrator: early reporting from unicef has shown that when using virtual reality, they've doubled the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts. man: the fact that virtual reality is so real means that we have to think a lot more about the ethical aspects of what we do. narrator: tom kent is the standards editor at the
associated press and is a professor at new york's columbia university. kent: there's a psychological impact that vr has that's greater than the impact of photos or video. it hits you at a more elemental level. when somebody's watching a video or someone's looking at a photo, they know that they are external to the scene and they're looking in at something. vr operates at a different level. it's putting you in the scene and working on your brain in ways that i don't think is really completely understood. arora: we got the blessing to do one on ebola. "waves of grace" is an ebola survivor who is basically--you get access to her prayer, and you feel like you have this intimate moment with her as she's praying to god. narrator: "waves of grace" was integrated into the u.n. secretary-general's international ebola recovery
conference, which garnered 5.2 billion u.s. dollars in pledges. arora: what people really feel moved by, they've never been in a poor slum, in a hut. they've never been at an ebola burying site. so many people have said that they've seen that picture in the news, that actually being there while the body is being buried is something else. it makes you think about this crisis and other crises in a different way. kent: the most important thing is transparency. if the vr producer is trying to advance a political cause or a social cause, that needs to be made clear. arora: i think one just has to be really open and clear about one's methods. we're gonna constantly be evolving in thinking about these ethics even more as we go forward.
we privilege the human story. you know, it isn't so much the u.n. did this and this is what's happening and this is what you should do. it really is a quiet sort of, let's put yourself in the shoes of another. it definitely is something that we are just at the beginning of. being at the forefront of it, especially for the united nations, gives us a lot of advantages to tell our stories and make a difference with a whole new generation of viewers, and especially a lot of young people. because if we didn't do what we do with virtual reality, it would fill up with games and escapism. when a 15-year-old would unwrap his christmas present a year from now or two years from now, he wouldn't have "clouds over sidra" and this u.n. series there for him.
man: we don't have a life here. our life is very hard. being a refugee is not a life, and we don't have a country. narrator: more than half of the world's 10 million refugees live in cities. woman: why the urban refugees are here, they--they have not made a cice to ce. they- they were forced at some point to leave their houses, their loved ones, everything that they had to--for their safety, and they ended up in nairobi. narrator: in kenya, urban refugees and their struggle for acceptance. man: nobody respects us a refugee guy. you go to town, you are afraid of the police. even the people, they look at you differently.
we don't have a life here. our life is very hard. being a refugee is not a life, and we don't have a cntry. i wish- wish i d a couny and all the refees have coury. if tre is pee in every country, there are no refugees. but you see, expect that tomorrow it will happen in your country, what will you do if you become a refugee? what will you do? you will face the same life we are facing now, not less than that.
woman: the mandate of unhcr, as you know, is to protect refugees and to find solutions. so, as a way to protect urban refugees and refugees in general, we make sure that they are first of all identified as such and they are properly documented. as asylum seekers or refugees with their documentation, they are proteed again [indistct], which means that the kenyan authorities will not send them back to their country of origin or to another country where they could also be persecuted. and people who have been granted refugee status get an identification refugee card issued by the national registration bureau. the overwhelng majory of urb fugees a self-suicient. theyare notbeing assisted by unhcr and its partners. we only assist the most, most vulnerable people. so, most of the urban refugees work, take care of themselves, and are not
dependent on the--on any aid. [indistinct chatter] child: mom! man: mom! child: mommy! man: nobody respects us a refugee guy. if you go to town, you are afraid of the police. even the people, they look at you differently. it feels terrible. we are just human beings--like you guys. hmm? we deser the lifyou liv, not less than that the way at peopltreat us being fferent-hey saw us ke we d't--wdon't belong to this world. but god created us--what do we do? i wish people treated us like a human being-- respect us as a human being, live as a human being.
farhan: i will show you some papers that prove that something terrible happened to my wife, which i don't want to mention in front of the camera. so, if it's good for me to show you the papers so you can read for yourself. these are the papers. man: i came here to eastleigh, nairobi, 18 years back. these patients were different from the ones i was having during my lifetime experience. most of
them are refugees from somalia or ethiopia. we saw that most of them were complaining of pain, different parts of the body. we give em treatnt, and ter a f days, ain they e here reappearing with change in their symptoms. it's at that time that consultd with professor who was our friend, and he told us that we were probably in front of psychosomatic symptoms. ptsd cases were around 30% to 40%. i have seen people not going out of the home they live in for years, and they are afraid to even venture out of the door. a lot of cases. hi. man: [indistinct] warsame: how are you? you cannot treat psychosomatic illness only with tablets
or injections. you have to go to the community, you have to understand what is the problem of the community. you have to try to change something in the community. that's the only way to--to treat these kind of problems. because as i told you, these are physical manifestations of psychological problems. [knocking on door] hi, farhan. farhan: hi. [men speaking native language]
somali refugees. were many terrorist attacks and terrorist threats in nairobi, but also on the cot and thughout kya. again, somali refugees were being pointed at as responsible for insecurity. [men speaking native language] man: there is a lot of risk in the city for the youth vis-a-vis radicalization and recruitment, actually. there is a lot of risk in the city, and it's something that we know that is ongoing. ah, youth are radicalized through preaching, uh, they are given narratives that connect to--to the suffering, [indistin] youth employment, poverty,and allthis. and many, many are believing the story. my--my job, actually, is
information gathering. i'm the conduit between the government and the people. >> [speaking native language] [man speaking native language] yeah, every morning, ah, i do my rounds to see if there--there are any problems. people being harassed because they are refugees. an indigenous kenyan maybe has insulted or abused a refugee because they are not, ah, because they are strangers and they don't belong to this country. so, we get a lot of those cases around here. i can imagine the refugee community complaining about lacking identity. they don't feel like they belong, because they have not been made to feel they belong. and much of the work we do in this community is that, uh, trying to tell the host community, the kenyan people, that refugee are also people and we need to accommodate them in the situation they are in right now.
ah, dr. warsame. salaam aleikum. hi. how are you? warsamehow are you? wanguthi: i'm good, man. warsame: [indistinct] wanguthi: thank you so much. how are you, my sister? are you good? yes. everything is fine? warsame: [indistinct] [wanguthi speaking native language] yes. [men speaking native language] warsame: most of the time these youth are becoming gangsters and hopeless because of a lack of identity. they create an identity by joining gangs. th's whwe decid to-- to create an identity for them to teach them somali cultural nce, to ach them about the language even, to teach them about the past of somalia, to teach them at least to create something for them to be proud of. [dance music playing]
hamon-sharpe: why the urban fugees a here? they-- theyave not made, uh, a choice to come. they were forced at some point to leave their houses, their loved ones, everything that th had for their safety, and then ended up in nairobi. they could have ended up anywhere else. so, it's not a choice to become a refugee. and these people are extremely courageous and resilient. they fend for themselves. they work. most of them in the formal sector, but they do work. like anywhere else, the majority of the refugees are peaceful people. they're civilian. they are women, children, uh, men who work very hard to make a living and to find a solution, and it's important to--to pass that message to the authorities. ññ1111@1@1@1@1púúa xxcbq