Can you ever really walk a mile in someone’s shoes?
How close can we really get to understanding someone’s experience on the the other side of the planet?
And what do we do with our own experience of that afterwards?

On Thursday, September 29th the YMCA Academy had an exceptional opportunity to view a 360 degree film produced by the United Nations that is shot from the view point of a 12 year old Syrian girl, Sidra, in Za’atari camp in Jordan. Our Virtual Reality experience of Clouds Over Sidra (2015, directed by Gabo Arora and Chris Milk) was the first time in the world that a secondary school viewed the 8 minute film that shows the inside of a refugee camp. Brought to us by The Sidra Project, Hot Docs, Artscape and the United Nations, the students first became acquainted with the cutting edge Samsung Gear VR technology and then became immersed in Sidra’s world.

The film shows the daily life inside of the camp and the VR experience is so life like that students and staff alike found themselves reaching out to touch their surroundings. The close quarters that Sidra’s family live in, her journey to school and her classroom, and the sports and activities that the young people take part in show how resilient the Syrian people have been and how strong their desire is to return to their home. Before and after viewing the film the students engaged in a conversation about the history and recent events in the conflict in Syria, the global refugee crisis, and what we can do as engaged global citizens to help.

Keep an eye out for public screenings! There are some in the near future and this is an opportunity not to be missed.

You can find further information and screening dates on the The Sidra Project website.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Clouds Over Sidra Virtual Reality Screening

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