How would you survive without your education?
That's the question posed in a YouTube video from the anti-poverty group ONE, who teamed up with the creative agency Don't Panic for a powerful video about the refugee crisis. ONE is an organization dedicated to providing education for refugee children. In the video, men and women from all walks of life — doctors, students, parole officers, teachers — are hypnotized into illiteracy. Then they are asked to perform simple tasks such as telling the time or reading the label on prescription medicine.
"No one can reach their full potential without an education," ONE's Chief Marketing Officer Roxane Philson said in a statement. "We wanted to make that point in the most visceral way possible. The volunteers got a small glimpse of how different their lives would be if they couldn't read or write. But for the millions of refugee children who won't get an education, it's not just a scary few moments — it's a lifetime of missed opportunities."
Participants were hypnotized by Chris James, who hand-picked candidates for three sittings of 12 people. The footage in the video is some of the most compelling they got from those groups, as only about 20 percent of people are susceptible to hypnotism.
Released right before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, the video was meant to put more pressure on world leaders to help tackle the issue of educating refugees. Right now, more than 3 million children are missing out on school in the most critical learning years of their lives.
Obviously, it's impossible to replicate a refugee's experience. Hypnosis like this only scratches the surface of the hardships refugees face, from being uprooted to experiencing war to losing family members. But it is important to remember that on top of all that hardship, millions of refugee children will be unable to receive an education unless we help.