7 Stories for 7 Years
After seven years, many children displaced by the war in Syria only have vague memories of their homeland. The confines of a refugee camp, poor housing and sanitation, inadequate healthcare and intermittent education, all seem normal to them.
These children want to tell their stories and be heard so World Vision partnered with Al Jazeera’s virtual reality studio Contrast VR to train and equip budding young filmmakers in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee Camp with Samsung 360 cameras. The result is seven powerful short virtual reality films written, directed and shot by child refugees.
While the films document some of the daily stressors child refugees face, the overwhelming theme which emerges is one of hope. The young filmmakers explore topics such as football and friendship, people they look up to and pursuing their dreams no matter what.
Eighteen-year-old wife and mother Marah, says: “When I first arrived to Za’atari, I didn’t care for anything. But after receiving photography and film training, it became my dream to become a professional filmmaker. I hope with this workshop in 360 video, I can film a great movie about life here in the camp. My message to every young woman in the world is, do not stop dreaming for any reason.”
Dreaming in Za’atari
In addition, World Vision and Contrast VR have released Dreaming in Za’atari: Stories after Syria an immersive film exploring the hopes and dreams of three of the young filmmakers. VR animations bring their stories to life, transforming the spaces around them.
The film is directed and produced by Contrast VR’s editorial lead Zahra Rasool and narrated by World Vision supporter and actor Liam Cunningham, United Nations Ambassador Dr. Alaa Murabit and former head of the United Nations Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark.
World Vision's response to the Syria crisis began in 2011 and has since expanded to operating across five countries. In 2017 World Vision reached more than 2.2 million people, including nearly 1.3 million children. But after seven years, longer-term solutions are needed. The international community must look Beyond Survival and consider what is needed to ensure Syrian children are able to live happy, healthy and productive lives post-conflict.
Read our policy brief 'Beyond Survival'