It’s nearly 6 months since Make Foundation launched its website and set out on its first project. A good time to reflect on where we started and what we’ve built with our wonderful project participants, their families, our creative volunteers, partners and supporters, many who send encouragement and love from afar, even from Syria.
The Just Want Home video project was the catalyst behind Make Foundation, but community support and inspirational stories brought it to life.
One such inspiration was the haunting story of Fatima, a 19-year-old Syrian refugee, widow and mother of three who found hope through photography. Encouraged and guided by photojournalist Brendan Bannon, Fatima channeled her grief and was able to imagine a future beyond her loss. Projects Brendon has facilitated, such as Do You See What I See? demonstrate the profound power a creative process has to move those suffering from the experience of war beyond their internal trauma.
Helping other young Syrians find their voice through art, music and technology programmes is Make Foundation’s mission. We’re fundraising for such programmes by staging engaging, creative projects in our own communities.These projects raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugee children and their families; they also produce something quite special for their participants.
Our first project, Just Want Home – Wellington, was an intense learning experience for all involved. The students produced four songs and an instrumental piece which they performed publicly and recorded at the Surgery Studio, Wellington. The project’s fundraising concert and participation in Capital E’s Winter Wonderland event raised over $2000 for a similar project to take place in Lebanon for Syrian refugee children. The experience was rewarding for everyone who took part and supported the project.
We’ve staged five workshops in art, music and IT with trainee art therapist Mary-Grace Williams, musicians Alan Burden, Tim Barrie and Liz Merton, as well as IT gurus Ibrahim Raouf-Morton and Tim Davies-Colley from e-learning Porirua. The workshops were an opportunity to; explore the concept of home from a new and safe perspective, or be part of a crowd-songwriting and performance’ project, or learn about Google Apps.
So what’s next?
A fundraising art project at Island Bay school, Wellington is scheduled for March. Some 125 students are taking part, a team of talented volunteers is facilitating and The Learning Connexion is generously supporting with art supplies.
A film that questions What Is Home? is in post-production and our creative community of supporters, participants and volunteers is growing with more collaborative projects in coding, music and art in the mix.
Donations in the form of creative tools are also growing – a keyboard from one of our generous volunteers and a DSLR camera from Canon New Zealand, so we can show you What We See, a beautiful gift that honours the spark of an idea that came from Fatima’s story.
Just Want Home – Refugee Camp Lebanon is also taking shape. Our Beirut project co-ordinator has sourced a venue and is currently putting a team together of musicians and volunteers ahead of inviting Syrian refugee children to participate. We’ll update details as they are finalised before the project starts.
At a recent donor’s conference in London, world leaders pledged billions in vital aid for Syrian refugees. However, the 5-year war has no end in sight and people continue to suffer each day as a result of it.
We are small, but our mission is big and shared by many. So let’s make a foundation and build for those most in need of a hopeful vision.