WHAT: A short documentary titled Safe Schools: Nepal uses virtual reality to show how the widespread damage to—and in many cases total destruction of—schools from the earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015 has made it difficult for children to get an education.
WHO: Digital agency Rain, Freelance Society, The Uprising Creative, VEHICLEvr, Theirworld
WHY WE CARE: Commissioned by Theirworld as part of the U.K.-based children’s charity’s #SafeSchools campaign ahead of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul May 23-24, the film aims to persuade world leaders to create a special fund devoted exclusively to getting schools up and running right away after an emergency.
Everyone is hopping on the VR bandwagon these days, but the use of 360-degree video is especially impactful in a documentary like Safe Schools: Nepal, placing an audience that is physically removed from the devastation in Nepal right in the center of it all in a way that standard 2-D video just can’t. As we learn in the film, Nepal was awash in humanitarian aid after the earthquake hit on April 25, 2015, but resources didn’t go to repairing the nation’s educational infrastructure—more than 16,000 schools were destroyed or damaged and have yet to be repaired, so children are making dangerous, hours-long journeys to attend makeshift schools. One of the most disturbing sequences in the film shows kids crossing a river, precariously suspended high over the water in a metal bucket affixed to cables. These kids are literally risking their lives to get an education.
VIEWING TIPS: Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets offer optimal viewing experiences. Mobile is the next best way to watch, via the YouTube app on iOS or Android. On a desktop, Google Chrome will allow you to navigate through the experience using your mouse.