An Oxford University-backed VR peace project, Project Dastaan, helps reconnect refugees of the 1947 Partition with their ancestral homes and communities. This unique project seeks to promote cultural dialogue between the three countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and India – to educate younger generations about the common ancestries of their predecessors and to immortalise the experiences of those who suffered under colonialism.
According to the official website of the organisation, the project has 'three arms', the Social Impact Program, an interactive VR Experience, and a Documentary. The project further aims to act as a step towards mutual understanding between India and Pakistan. Wilke speaking to a local media outlet, Sam Dalrymple, Co-Founder and Operations Lead reportedly said that Dastaan is ultimately about stripping away the layers of politics and trying to solve a very simple problem of that the children forced to leave their homes have never been able to go back again.
In 1947 British rule ended and India Pakistan were created resulting in the migration of 14 million. Most have not been able to see their homes again. With your support we take Partition refugees home using VR— Project Dastaan (@ProjectDastaan) January 17, 2020
Donate here: https://t.co/X2ytrJ7T4A#projectdastaan #ShareYourDastaan pic.twitter.com/dg1Y7zvBWR
Further explaining the three parts of the project on the website, The Social Impact Program helps to track down the childhood homes and villages of partition witnesses, and films the in a 360 video. The second, Child of Empire, a flagship VR experience of the project through which the migration stories will also be used as an educational tool to teach partition history. The third is a feature documentary which is called The Lost Migration and shares first-hand survivor narratives through documentary-style storytelling.
According to the crowdfunding website of the project, “Our Social Impact program uses an extensive volunteer network to track down the childhood homes and villages of our witnesses. Backed by the South Asia programme at Oxford Univesity, we use VR headsets to give these migrants, who are often over 80 years old, a virtual tour of their childhood towns and homes”.