Digicel Foundation launches virtual reality disaster prep game

Above: A screen from the Disaster Preparedness game.

There’s now a cool way to teach persons with special needs about disaster-preparedness. The Digicel Foundation with co-funding from the Inter-American Development Bank’s Innovation Lab, has developed an app in the form of a free virtual reality game to assist persons with disabilities on managing in disaster scenarios. The game, created in collaboration with the Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODPM), Trinidad and Tobago Fire Services, is presented in the form of an animated room where the player participates in a school or home hazard hunt.

This is the first disaster preparedness game developed to give students with disabilities the opportunity to practice real-world skills in a safe environment. More importantly, Masters of Prep is the only game like it in the Caribbean that is accessible to young, deaf children.

Video games for the deaf are very limited and even more so in our region.  Having a game developed by a local team of developers that is presented as educational and features disaster awareness in sign language is exceptional”, said Kahaya Puckerin, Principal of the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities. She added, “The likely benefits to young deaf children/learners include building confidence in navigating potentially dangerous situations and the benefit of tailored life-skills learning to coincide with hurricane, fire season, etc. to include use game during sessions.”

“The launch of Masters of Prep illustrates the strong partnerships between the Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODPM) and the Foundation over the past years”, stated Retired Major General Rodney Smart, CEO ODPM. He further added partnerships such as the one with the Foundation enables the ODPM to further the work of building a disaster prepared nation.

The Digicel Foundation is dedicated to improving the inclusion of persons with special needs in society. The announcement of the launch of this App received commendation from Vashtie Dookiesingh, Senior Specialist at the IDB LAB for empowering persons with special needs with an inclusive disaster preparedness technical tool to enhance their capacity against future disasters.

The ‘Masters of Prep Game’ is live in Google Play store and available for download on Android, tablets and desktops.

Experiencing the game at Digicel’s launch event. Photo courtesy Digicel.