The United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets’ campaign has officially released its very first virtual reality (VR) film, ‘Under The Net.’ The film, which has been named Best VR Documentary, features an 11-year-old girl named Amisa, a refugee living in the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Tanzania with her mother and six siblings.
Struggling to survive each day, with no protection from mosquitoes that carry malaria at night, the viewer will experience Amisa’s life through her eyes. Hope abounds as her family moves into a new home, receives treatment for malaria, and then she and her siblings prepare to start school – none of which would be possible without the life-saving protection of bed nets.
“The true power of this film is in sharing Amisa’s story and drawing the viewer into her world,” said Margaret Reilly McDonnell, director of Nothing But Nets, according to a news report.
“Refugees like Amisa have endured the unimaginable and are extremely vulnerable to threats like malaria. We hope her story conveys just how crucial a simple bed net can be as a catalyst for her health, her education, and her ability to survive and thrive. The film also provides insights into the challenging, complex, and life-saving work of our partner, UNHCR, in protecting and caring for refugees.”
Unique power of virtual reality
Every two minutes, a child dies from malaria. Nothing But Nets works closely with its UN partners across sub-Saharan Africa, to ensure vulnerable populations, including children, refugees, and families displaced by conflict, are protected from the disease. The film was created by Secret Location and Nothing But Nets at the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in northwestern Tanzania, in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), where Nothing But Nets distributes life-saving bed nets and supports malaria prevention and treatment programs.
“We were incredibly moved by the positive spirit and resilience of the displaced families we met while filming,” director Justin Perkinson was quoted as saying.
“Thanks to the unique power of VR, we hope our film will transport audiences to Amisa’s home and community, offer first-person witness to the threat malaria poses in daily life, and help inspire real impact in the global fight against this deadly disease.”
Joining the fight against malaria
Today, there are more than 65 million refugees and families displaced by violence around the world – and 60 percent of them live in areas where malaria is transmitted. Malaria is a major threat to refugees – it is a leading cause of illness and death in many African countries, including those where Nothing But Nets and its UN partners work.
The Nothing But Nets campaign – the world’s largest grassroots campaign to fight malaria – boasts hundreds of thousands of supporters, from students to superstars to CEOs, who all help to protect families from the threat of malaria.
In June 2015, TANA Netting, supplier of WHOPES-recommended DawaPlus® 2.0 Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets, joined forces with Nothing But Nets campaign by donating half of the 10,000 mosquito nets being sent to refugee families in Africa. This special initiative to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June contributed to The Million Nets Pledge, which was launched by Nothing But Nets to distribute one million bed nets by 2016 to refugee families at risk from malaria.