During the pilot phase of the project which took part in the fall of 2016, over 7,000 participants engaged in an immersive technology experience by viewing the short film Clouds Over Sidra using Samsung Gear VR. They engaged in dialogue about the global refugee crisis and were urged to take concrete actions to make a difference.
Clouds Over Sidra, by Senior Creative Advisor at the U.N. Gabo Arora, tells the story of life inside a refugee camp in Jordan through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl named Sidra, placing viewers within the centre of the camp through a 360-degree experience.
The Sidra Project is inspired by the World Economic Forum and is made possible through the generous support of 20 organizations, including dedicated Founding Partners Inspirit Foundation and RBC Royal Bank. We are honoured to be under the distinguished patronage of the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
Challenges for refugee newcomers do not end when they leave the dangers of their home country. Successfully resettling and leading a full, productive life in a new country takes ongoing effort and support. Canadians can become involved by assisting with resettlement efforts in a variety of ways, from sharing their experience to volunteering with supportive organizations, or providing housing to creating employment opportunities, or by sponsoring a family to making a donation. To build empathy and engage communities across Canada, it is important for people to understand the lived experiences of refugees. While individuals can make a difference, we are stronger together.
The first phase of The Sidra Project launched in Toronto as part of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). From September to December 2016, participants in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver experienced the project in public venues, boardrooms, classrooms and private residences for groups of 10 to 60 people.
Total of 95 events that took place all over Toronto, with dates in Mississauga, Ottawa, and Vancouver. Over 7,000 were able to experience the project at 29 public screenings, 38 private screenings, and 29 schools!
Survey results gathered post wrapping up on the initial phase indicated the following:
The Sidra Project is a proven antidote to fear and apathy towards refugees.