Published : Friday, March 10, 2017 | 6:23 AM
The founders of Ayotree, a Pasadena-based education technology provider, have launched a new mobile phone game and plan to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to help refugees from the Syrian conflict.
Former refugees themselves, brothers Chinh and Khoa Vu, who came to Southern California after their family fled Vietnam in 1979, consider the new free-to-play mobile game, “Moses the Freedom Fighter,” as their “statement against racism, slavery, oppression, and in support of freedom for all,” much like what Moses, in the Bible, actually fought for when he led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
The brothers have partnered with Oxfam America and pledged to donate all of the optional donations from players for the aid group’s Syria Refugee Crisis Response Fund – forever.
On March 15, Oxfam will commemorate the sixth year since the Syrian conflict began. Even without the Syrian conflict, the global impact of the refugee crisis is staggering, with nearly 21.3 million refugees worldwide, over half of whom are under age 18. Every day, nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced as a result of conflict or persecution, making one out of every 100 people on Earth a refugee.
Players can download the game for free for their iOS and Android devices – and donate as an option, if they care about making the world a better place.
Donations can be made by viewing optional video ads from the game’s main menu, or by direct donation through the game’s website at www.FreeMoses.org. Donation options include $1.99, $3.99, $5.99, or any amount specified by donors. Those wishing to donate to Ayotree’s support for Oxfam’s refugee efforts can also visit www.OxfamAmerica.org/Ayotree.
“We’re excited to give players the chance to do their part in the fight against injustice – both in our game, and in the real world, and to support global human rights in a truly unique way,” says Khoa Vu, Ayotree Co-Founder. “Ultimately, ‘Moses the Freedom Fighter’ is a game that satisfies both heart and soul.”
This will be the first time a for-profit company has released a free mobile game with 100 percent of the donations in perpetuity going to a third-party charity that helps exiles fleeing genocide and oppression.
Chinh Vu says part of the inspiration in creating the game comes from their being onetime refugees themselves, and from the knowledge that conflicts around the globe continue to displace a significant number of people. He said they were also inspired by the age-old stories told in the classic film, “The Ten Commandments” and more recent Hollywood epics like “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and “Noah” – stories that he says never lose their power.
“As they help to lead a global movement for change, Oxfam America embodies this message, and is empowering people to create a future that is secure, just, and free from poverty,” Chinh Vu says. “We are so proud to support those endeavors with our game.”
Founded in 1942, Oxfam has been working with communities worldwide for over 70 years and is considered one of the world’s most active, innovative and respected non-governmental organizations. Today, Oxfam is a global confederation of 20 independent Oxfams working with over 3,200 local partners in over 90 countries, including Oxfam America.
Oxfam offers a combination of rights-based sustainable development programs, public education and advocacy campaigns, as well as humanitarian assistance efforts in disasters and conflicts worldwide.
Oxfam America’s efforts also extend to Syria and the surrounding region, where fighting has claimed more than 300,000 lives and triggered a massive exodus. With close to five million people fleeing to escape conflict, Oxfam is currently working to provide lifesaving aid to displaced people, primarily in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Serbia, and is also helping families to meet some of their basic needs as they travel beyond the region to seek safety
“Moses the Freedom Fighter” provides clever challenges, vibrant animation, and witty retro gameplay saluting several arcade classics, according to the game website. To reach a truly global audience, the game is currently available in nine languages, with six more to follow soon, the developers say.
Some of the major features of the game include a challenging gameplay with eight exciting acts specifically designed to improve spatial attention, memory function, cognitive flexibility, and split-second decision making skills, while putting players’ old school gaming skills to the test. It also features interactive storytelling where players follow the Moses story from the River Nile to Mount Sinai; the story includes pinnacle moments “leading to a revolution that united people out of the shackles of slavery.”
The game also encourages immersive learning, with passages adapted from the Book of Exodus that seamlessly connect each game to the storyline, and is designed to facilitate the brain’s ability to interpret situations.
In an ad on AppAdvice, the developers said the game was created “to spread the message of freedom.”
“This game is for those who believe it is the responsibility of humankind to remind people from all different creeds, countries, cultures, colors and refugee camps that we must all unite to carry the torch of freedom,” they said.
“Moses the Freedom Fighter” is free and available now for iOS at iTunes, at www.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=1145186524, and for Android via Google Play, at www.play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ayotree.moses&hl=en.
The game is currently available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese, with versions in Filipino, French, German, Indonesian, Korean, and Russian to follow soon.
To learn more about “Moses the Freedom Fighter,” visit www.FreeMoses.org.
To learn more about Oxfam’s work in Syria, visit www.OxfamAmerica.org.
To learn more about Ayotree, visit www.Ayotree.com.