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Make Foundation grew from a song written by 12-year old Naia Alkhouri two years ago. ‘Just Want Home’ glimpses the Syrian conflict through the eyes of a child. You can check out the song here.


Make FoundationJUST WANT HOME
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Just Want Home – Music Project

St Francis de Sales school in Wellington, New Zealand has joined Make Foundation’s Just Want Home project.

Just Want Home – Wellington, is a collaborative music and song-writing workshop involving 24 students from years 4-8.

The workshop is made up of 20 hours of music tuition and culminates in a fundraising concert for Just Want Home – Refugee Camp, a similar project Make Foundation is developing for young Syrians living in refugee camps. St Francis de Sales principal Steve Douglas says,

It is a unique opportunity to connect New Zealand school students with some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

As well as raising awareness about the impact of Syria’s war on children and families, Make Foundation believes it is an opportunity to develop empathy and greater understanding for those whose lives are shattered by war.

It is also an occasion where the children taking part can realise their own creative voice.

We will keep you updated on this project.

Just Want Home Wellington – Two Weeks In

Two weeks in and Just Want Home – Wellington is pounding with rhythm and sound. Some 24 young participants have dived into the collaborative process with their creative energy, individual spirits and enthusiasm.

Three groups have formed, the 11-12-year-old-girls, the 11-12-year-old-boys and the mixed 8-10-year-olds. Each group is writing lyrics and music around the theme of What Is Home?

Saad Jolakh, a 23-year old Syrian who fled the war and is now living in Wellington, came to talk about his experience of living under siege in Aleppo, Syria’s largest and one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities.

Saad’s talk and Q&A session afterwards helped the participants understand what it means to escape ones home because of war. All groups are drawing on this in their song lyrics.

Facilitator Michel Alkhouri says it’s inspiring to see such collaboration and creativity take place.

Each group has come up with a way of working very quickly. The girls exchange lots of ideas and have loud debates, but it’s clearly getting them results. They’ve already finished their song and are now polishing it. The boys were very quick to agree on a style of music and are currently building on their lyrics. The youngest group is very expressive and mainly needs support in moving away from a story-writing form to a song-writing form.

After the school break the participants have two more weeks to complete their work and rehearse ahead of a fundraising concert at St Francis de Sales Church, Island Bay, Wellington on 22 October at 7pm.

Please come and join us.

Just Want Home Wellington – Concert Countdown

As Just Want Home – Wellington enters its fourth and final week we’re counting down to Thursday’s concert.

Over the school break the students rehearsed and recorded three of their songs at The Surgery Studio a great learning experience and lots of fun.

They also met Mohi and his sister Nebal, an encounter that brought home the significance of their efforts.

The encounter clearly inspired Mohi too.

He told his mum and dad,

I want to be a musician just like them when I grow up.

Last week – week three of the project – the students performed

in front of the school. Another great milestone that provided

lessons to work on ahead of the concert.

Here are the concert details:

WHERE: St Francis de Sales Church, 173 Clyde St, Island Bay, Wellington

WHEN: Thurs, Oct 22, 7:00-8:00pm

PRICE: Make a donation at the concert or directly here

Hope to see you there.


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Just Want Home – Refugee Camp

Just Want Home – Refugee Camp is a music project for children displaced by Syria’s war.

We’re fundraising for Just Want Home – Refugee Camp and building links on the ground to deliver workshops to displaced children living in hardship with their families outside Syria. We hope this will lay the foundation for ongoing music tuition for those who take part in the workshops.

The seed of the project grew from a song of the same name written by Naia Alkhouri in December 2013 when she was 10-years old.

Naia lives with her family in Wellington, New Zealand. She wrote Just Want Home after taking part in a school inquiry programme about Syria’s civil war and its impact on children and their families.

Michel Alkhouri, Make Foundation’s co-founder, facilitated the inquiry programme. “The students learned about other kids just like them who were experiencing extreme hardship such as losing their homes, suffering from injuries or seeing family members and friends killed. They were very moved by what they learned and that was evident in the end-of-project performance where they sang a song in Arabic for the children whose lives had been shattered by the war.”

With that war now in its fifth year and over four million refugees having fled Syria, returning home looks increasingly unlikely. Bringing a sense of home to those who have lost theirs is core to Make Foundation’s mission, but What Is Home?

A home is where you feel safe. Music awakens in us our most profound safety, the safety of living in concert with each other and our own selves.
Michael Rossato-Bennett, writer, director, producer Alive Inside

Make Foundation doesn’t have bricks or mortar, but its Just Want Home project can bring the sanctuary of music to Syrian children living in refugee camps.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato said,

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.

Let’s support that for Syrian children.


Make FoundationJust Want Home – Refugee Camp
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Peace Gives, War Takes

Children often get straight to the heart of the matter with refreshing clarity. Take this picture – Peace Gives, War Takes – a sad and repetitive truth we’re reminded of daily in news reports.

While these can wash over us after a while, drawings, paintings and other art forms cut to the chase bringing the destruction of war, or prosperity of peace back into sharp focus.

In an interview with The New York Times, Gaza artist  Nidaa Badwan said,

Everything that is not art, I try to transform it into art.

Nidaa’s 100 Days of Solitude project is made up of 14 self-portraits all photographed inside her room in Gaza. Nidaa retreated to her room for nearly a year, rejecting the destruction of her surroundings and creating a colourful, vibrant reality inside the confines of her small space.

Likewise, the children of the Castle Art project in the Kurdistan region of Iraq are transforming the former prison walls of their refugee camp and in so doing, bringing hope and happiness to their lives.

Do you have a drawing, painting, image or other art work you’d like to share with the Make Foundation community?

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Mohi Meets New Instruments

5-year old Mohi came to New Zealand 7-months ago along with his mother, father and sister. His family arrived from Cairo, Egypt where they had fled from Syria’s war.

We met Mohi at a welcome dinner for newly-arrived Syrian families. His love of music was immediately apparent.

Make Foundation’s co-founders, Michel Alkhouri and Michelle Carlile-Alkhouri said it was heartwarming to see his happiness. “He was jumping for joy playing a tambourine, despite all the challenges he’d been through as well as being in a new environment,” says Michelle.

This week Mohi got introduced to some new musical instruments including the piano and trombone. He was keen to discover their sound possibilities and dived straight in to explore the piano’s potential for dramatic expression. His imagination clearly got carried away by the sound waves.

“Mohi has told me he’s ready to start learning music and also wants to try out the electric guitar” says Michel.

However, at his first lesson Mohi had other priorities. Puzzled that Michel and Michelle, Make Foundation’s co-founders, had the same sounding name, he quickly found a solution – change one of their names.

“Mohi says I’m now called Yousef!”, says Michel.


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What Is Home?

It’s a simple question that can provoke profound responses.

One thing is for sure, whether home is a deep attachment to place, people or activity, it’s a concept that in part defines who we are.

For most people home, or perhaps more accurately a sense of home, is something we seek; something that we know when we have it and when we don’t.

Make Foundation is working on a film that asks a range of people of different nationalities and ages what home is for them.

We’ll post it soon but in the meantime why not share with us What Is Home for you?

Make FoundationWhat Is Home?
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