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This blog was written by Fabienne van Eck, Regional Manager of our programs in the Middle East, reflecting on the sometimes hidden importance of our projects in the lives of participants.

Bara’em Ghirass means ‘buds of (tree)saplings’, symbolizing hope and growth. The program was established in partnership with Ghirass Cultural Center in order to empower girls, mothers, and families living in Palestine whose lives are being disrupted and put at risk by the ongoing violence, conflict, and chaos in the region. Our role in Palestine is to give quality music education and performance opportunities, with a strong focus on cultural heritage and increasing knowledge and pride in their the participant’s local traditions.

“Miss, will you be there as well?”

One of our violin students asks me if I will be there during our concert. I’m the conductor of the orchestra, so when I informed the children that we will perform in a concert, I thought it was more than logic that I, the conductor, would be present.

“Yes, of course, I will be there. I have to conduct the orchestra, right?”

“Ah, ok, I was worried you wouldn’t come, because without you I don’t know when we have to start or stop playing!”.

First I felt happy. My ego took the stage. I felt important. Look, I’m needed, this child needs me to show him when to start and stop playing, my work is important. But then I told my ego to take a step back so I could observe what was really happening here: in this child’s life, it’s completely normal that people do not show up. It’s normal that people are suddenly not there for him, because they are arrested, on strike, stuck at one of the many checkpoints, or killed. In the life of this child, stability is scarce and chaos is default. So yes, why would he expect me to be there? But I came to the concert. And not just me, all his friends playing in the orchestra came, his parents and many others. Our program doesn’t just offer free music education. Our program strives to offer these children a little bit of stability in the midst of violence and occupation.

From September 21, International Day of Peace, we are raising money to support our work in places like Mitrovica. Help us make it possible for young people in divided societies to take the stage together. Every donation helps.

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