Mabrook! (congratulations) to the young people who have completed Make Foundation’s first music scholarship programme in Jounieh, Lebanon.
Seven students took part in the 10 week programme that was held at the A to Z afterschool centre in Jounieh just north of Beirut.
Students received 30 hours of tuition, covering theory and practice in either singing, oud or keyboard. The students were chosen with the help of the nearby Official School Sarba which runs a special curriculum for Syrian refugee children. Make Foundation also provided transportation and refreshments.
The project was led by Pierre Alkhouri, an opera singer and teacher at the Faculty of Music, Kaslik University. Pierre says the progress made by the whole group is really impressive.
“None of the students had any previous formal musical tuition. What they shared was a love of music and a passion to learn. They came with great enthusiasm and made huge progess, especially considering all the challenges they have been through and their difficult living conditions.”
The young people who took part in the programme all moved to Lebanon from Syria because of the civil war in their home country. They come from the cities of Homs, Hama and Lattakia, but have been living in the Kaslik, Jounieh and Sarba areas of Lebanon for some time. While the war in Syria is less intense than before, their families simply can’t risk going back yet, says Pierre.
“I’m also from Syria, and while everyone’s situation is unique I think it’s fair to say it’s just not possible to go back yet for many people. Some have lost their homes, jobs and family members, so they would have very little support if they went back home. There is also a risk of persecution for those who return. While life can be challenging here, for many this is where they have to build a future, at least for now.”
Pierre says supported programmes like Make Foundation’s are very important for young people from Syria growing up in Lebanon.
“Make Foundation’s programmes are made possible by the efforts of kind hearted people and school students in New Zealand. Knowing others care about their future is an inspiration and great encouragement to the children who took part in this project.”
The Jounieh scholarship programme follows Make Foundation’s first project in Lebanon two years ago. The charity hopes to make its book series available online soon, so it can continue similar project work in Lebanon.
Special thanks to the staff and students at Hataitai school, Wellington High School, Manna Marshall and friends whose huge fundraising efforts and creativity made this scholarship programme possible.