The refugee crisis is a terrible reality for millions of families around the country, but it's also a politically dicey issue. In the U.S. and in parts of Europe, politicians and their constituents question whether they're comfortable allowing refugees who've fled their homes because of acts of violence, war, and terrorism into their own communities. The crisis is, in some ways, two-fold: There's the issue of how to improve the situation's cause where these families come from, and then how to get the world to see their struggles as part of our shared human experience. To see that, if it can happen to people from Syria or Myanmar, it could happen to us, too.
There are many ways to raise awareness of the issue, but few as immersive as the 360 video series Facebook has launched with Johnson & Johnson, and Save The Children. "Stories of HumanKind: Searching for Home" is a mobile-first series that tells a few of the stories from the 34,000 people who every day are forced to leave their homes to seek safety, education and a real future. The series focuses on children and families living in an airport refugee camp in Berlin, documenting both their struggles—reckoning their previous lives with their current situation—and their joy—kicking a soccer ball, making friends, and otherwise being kids. The 360 video makes that experience more immersive, giving viewers a better glimpse of what their world actually looks like.
"We’re incredibly proud to have been a part of this project with Johnson & Johnson and Save the Children," Keenan Pridmore, head of Facebook Creative Shop Studio, told CoCreate in a statement. "The HumanKind Project shows the power that technology and storytelling have to create more empathy and action for the refugee crisis. With this campaign, we aim to go one step deeper—to showcase refugees as people—and focus on their resilience and humanity."
All of that is a good reminder of the issues at stake, and the power that connected platforms like Facebook have to drive home the fact that anybody forced to flee their home could be us, but for accidents of geography. Which makes Save The Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles's goal ring true, "To get people to look past the headlines and statistics of this refugee crisis, and remember that these are mothers, fathers, and children who are facing incredible challenges, and who need our support."