The UN SDG Action Campaign is exploring opportunities to expand UNVR’s use as an educational tool. Virtual Reality promotes empathy by allowing you to be part of someone else’s story. The experiences have been known to change perceptions, allow young people to compare their lives with those across the globe, and give them a new way of visualizing their realities. The experiences can thus be used as a reference point for guided discussions.
So far, we have used Virtual Reality to discuss global issues with children across the globe, including Spain, South Africa, Argentina and during a refugees workshop in the Teen Thursdays Program, a collaboration between the UN Group Programmes Unit and the NYC Department of Education. We hope to expand this initiative in the coming year.
Quotes from young people:
- “After I listen or read something, I tend to forget what I learned. But [through Virtual Reality], I won’t. It removes you from everything. I had to put my feet on the ground just to feel like I was there.” – Trishna Dave, Lehigh University, Class of ’16
- “The most real moment was when people around you would look at you or kids would run up to you. It felt symbolic of how different our lives are compared to theirs—that we have this experience here. There’s definitely a weird curtain between us and them. I’m not sure they’re getting enough aid from people like us, who are well off, don’t have the Ebola virus, and aren’t refugees.” – Thomas Troxell, Lehigh University Class of ’17