Years ago, a friend of mine returned from a visit to the
"I entered the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, I received Identification Card #2855. For the next four hours I became Malvin Katz Fried, a real Hungarian Jewish woman about my own age during the Holocaust.The industrial steel elevator I took to start my tour on the fourth floor immediately seemed as confining as the railroad boxcars that carried so many Jews to their deaths. Then as I threaded my way inexorably downward, through the history the displays recount, I lived Malvin's times and her personal story."
Two years ago, a group of Second Life residents created “Neverland,” which recreated
Consider if these ideas were combined in Second Life as a way to encourage people to empathize with refugees in Darfur .We could take the stories of real life refugees, combine elements into ten different lives and create ten avatars to represent them. Visitors could select a character that reflects their own sex and age and transform their regular avatar into that of the refugee.
After the visitor assumes their appearance, he or she can be directed on a journey through the camp to learn about the refugees’ history – why they came to the camp, their family, and even their personality. At the same time the visitor can learn about the issues camp-dwellers face over the course of a day: food, water, shelter, hygiene, etc. as well as information about what needs to be done to improve the situation.
The key to Neverland’s success was attracting the volunteer efforts of the best avatar creators, builders and coders in Second Life. I think this is the sort of idea that would excite them and it would be easy to recruit them to our cause.
I feel like if the idea succeeds like I think it can, it will be extremely popular inside Second Life. It also has the potential to create a much wider impact through publicity, attract more people to omidyar.net and spark more activism.