A new documentary is using virtual reality to take viewers inside a Syrian refugee camp
Entering its forth year this March, the conflict in Syria is proving to be one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time.  Yet the urgency and horror of this war can be difficult to translate; it’s a big challenge for humanitarian campaigners to get people in one part of the world to empathise with people in another.

While virtual reality seems more appropriate to gaming than it does a real-life civil conflict, it could prove an effective tool in solving the problem of apathetic onlookers.

Clouds Over Sidra marks the UN’s first venture into virtual reality filmmaking. Set in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, the VR film allows viewers to see through the eyes of Sidra, a twelve-year-old Syrian girl who is struggling to come to terms with her new environment. The visceral and immersive aspects of the film undoubtedly create empathy in the viewer.

Project Nourished is another example of using VR technology to affect social change.  The project aims to reconstruct and mimic calorie-rich foods with hydrocolloid polymer substitutes, whilst creating a virtual reality in which the original food can be seen.