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The United Nations is turning VR into a tool for social change
Virtual reality is lauded as anempathy generator. The ability to transport viewers to a setting that would otherwise be inaccessible, or even unfathomable, lends a sense of poignancy to the medium. Over the last two years,journalistic stories andcharitable causes have been translated intoVR films to raise awareness. In particular, the United Nations Virtual Reality (UNVR) initiative has been using the medium as an advocacy tool for vulnerable communities across the world. And now with the recent launch of a mobile app that introduces a "take action" button for the viewers to engage with the social issues, UNVR is looking to convert compassion into action.
The app, led by Gabo Arora, the UN creative director who spearheads the organization's VR productions, will host experiences like Clouds Over Sidra that places viewers alongside a 12-year-old girl in a Syrian refugee camp; Waves of Grace, which brings them into the world of an Ebola survivor in Liberia, and My Mother's Wing that takes them to a home in Gaza, where a mother lost her two young sons in the bombing of the UNRWA school.