Education. It’s something the majority of us take for granted. Reading…writing…counting, are processes ingrained in our day to day lives. But what if you just…forgot? What if a doctor could no longer read the label on a medicine bottle? What if a teacher could no longer recite the alphabet? Or a playwright no longer read the name of their own play?
Teaming up with ONE, these are the questions we are posing in our latest thought provoking film- Could you forget everything you ever learnt?
Ahead of two major summits covering the global refugee crisis, the aim of the film is to highlight the plight of refugee children missing out on an education. Shockingly, ONE estimates that out of 5.88 million school-aged refugee children, a staggering 3.57 million did not receive an education in 2015 and only 2% of all funding in emergencies is earmarked for education. In a country where we view education as a fundamental part of our lives, we created a social experiment to strip ordinary people of their ability to read and write in order to draw attention to the danger of missing out on an education.
To recreate this, we brought in a hypnotist and ‘Could you forget everything you ever learnt?’ allows us to see a range of members of society – including doctors, students, parole officers and teachers- hypnotised into a temporary state of illiteracy. Our volunteers are then asked to perform basic tasks such as reciting the alphabet, telling the time or writing their name. We see the confusion, frustration and worry that is caused when everyday tasks become impossible to perform.
Whilst the video shows volunteers experiencing the grievance of essentially forgetting everything they ever learned, it is temporary. The stark reality is that this moment of distress for our volunteers, could be a permanent reality for millions of refugee children who are being denied a basic yet indispensable education. Education in humanitarian contexts is persistently underfunded, so for children fleeing conflict and instability, they won’t just have lost their homes, they’ll have lost their future.
The film was launched today, in advance of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, as well as President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees- taking place on the 19th and 20th of September. After showing you the effects losing your education had on members of the public, we hope you will question where you would be without an education. If that thought concerns you, then we hope you’ll join us and take action by signing a petition to bring education to the forefront of discussions at the aforementioned summits. If successful, it will set in motion a movement to provide 1 million refugee children with a vital chance to access education by the end of the school year.
Think about all the things your education allows you to do, even the basics, and where it has got you today. We have the chance to prevent a lifetime of missed opportunities. See the film here and make sure to take part and sign the petition.