Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has announced its participation in this year’s UAE Innovation Week. The organization’s participation is marked with a number of thought-provoking and innovative showcases taking place at Boulevard at Emirates Towers and Mall of the Emirates from 20 to 26 November and 21 to 26 November respectively, under the theme “Innovation in Education in Emergencies”.
Dubai Cares’ participation includes a showcase featuring a 360-degree virtual reality film captured in a refugee school within a Syrian refugee camp. The video, which can be viewed through virtual reality headsets, allows viewers to follow a young Syrian student in a refugee school as well as listen to the narration of her mother telling the story behind the family’s quest for education. The virtual reality video aims to highlight the vulnerability of children whose education has been impacted or denied altogether and allow a glimpse of the hope that Dubai Cares is instilling in the lives of children affected by conflict and natural disasters. Today, one in 113 people is either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum, and more than half of the world’s refugees are children. Refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugees.
Commenting on Dubai Cares’ participation in UAE Innovation Week, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares said: “As part of the production process of the #LastILearned campaign which we launched on the 19th of October 2016, we visited various countries affected by conflict and natural disasters to document the real stories of children affected by emergencies. During our visit to a Syrian refugee camp, we were inspired by the stories we heard from children and their parents and we came back with the decision to participate in the UAE Innovation Week and make use of virtual reality beyond gaming and entertainment, as a tool for immersive and impactful storytelling.”
In addition to the virtual reality video, the showcase features an interactive touchscreen map that provides visitors an insight into Dubai Cares’ work in developing countries, particularly in those affected by emergencies such as Lebanon, Niger, Palestine and Sierra Leone. It includes multimedia and information on Dubai Cares’ programs in 45 developing countries. It also features a variation of the “Would you rather” game which highlights the impossible choices people affected by emergencies have to make on a daily basis. Participants are invited to take a quiz on an iPad consisting of five questions through which they will be prompted to select one of the two possible answers.
Speaking about the digital quiz, Al Gurg said: “The quiz is designed to highlight the difficult and almost impossible choices people affected by conflict and natural disasters have to make on an almost daily basis. For instance, if you were struggling to feed your displaced family of 6, would you marry off your eldest 14-year-old daughter so she is looked after by a husband or take the same daughter out of school so she can work and help support the family. Although it is near impossible to put ourselves in their shoes, we hope to bring similar struggles to light through this interactive game.”
In October 2016, Dubai Cares announced 3 new innovative programs addressing Education in Emergencies in Lebanon, Niger and Sierra Leone. The programs are part of “Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action” (3EA), which is a new initiative that brings together Dubai Cares, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Global TIES for Children /New York University (NYU) in a pioneering three-year initiative that seeks to have a catalytic effect on the Education in Emergencies sector by testing the impact of key interventions in these emergency settings. All three programs aim to help determine which interventions are most effective for improving children’s learning outcomes and under what circumstances, thus generating evidence for global education actors to ensure that children in crisis-affected settings attend safe and predictable schools and gain the reading, math and social-emotional skills they need to thrive and succeed in school and life.
“Through our participation in the UAE Innovation Week, we are hoping to encourage the community to take an active role in reshaping the philanthropic landscape in the UAE by giving them a glimpse into the world of educational philanthropy and bring to their attention the plight of children who have suffered and are still suffering from wars, catastrophes and crises,” concluded Al Gurg.
UAE Innovation Week is a nationwide celebration of innovation for everyone in the UAE in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It is one of the largest innovation initiatives in the world and a consolidated effort by government, the private sector and individuals to help create a widespread culture of innovation in the UAE and strengthen its position as a global hub for innovation. UAE Innovation Week takes place from Sunday November 20 to Saturday November 26, 2016 from morning until evening. The full program can be found on www.uaeinnovates.ae