Six months ago, we launched our first music program in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp, sharing a portacabin with de Dutch Boat Refugee Foundation. They had opened a small library there and started the “The School of Hope”, children can attend lessons every day. The beauty of this project is that the portacabin was decorated by the refugees themselves and that the children’s parents also teach some of the lessons.
In mid-February we discussed the format of new music projects with the camp’s management.
Visible effects of music
The camp management’s office is housed in a portacabin located in the middle of the Moria camp. We speak to Ioannis Balpakakis, Moria’s “commander” and Miltiades Economides, who is here as a representative of the European Commission. They both want to improve the Moira refugee centre as much as possible, and they both like music, as many Greek people do. We talk about the effects of music, about the music groups in Moria and the children who have to wait outside due to lack of space. Mr. Balpakakis ask us whether we would be willing to also start our music programme in sections A, B, and C. These are the sections where the most vulnerable people have been accommodated, and where you must present proof of your identity before being allowed in. And they ask us whether we would like to have an accommodation unit at our disposal from early in the morning until 3.30 in the afternoon. This gets a big smile from both Annita and Lilian. Well, yes of course, accommodation space in Moria is very scarce and to be offered extra space means a lot to us. It gives us the opportunity to make a contribution to the atmosphere in Moria. A great deal of confidence is being put in us and our projects.
In the meantime, we have launched our program in the three additional sections mentioned, and ordered the furnishings for our music unit. There is great enthusiasm for our lessons. A fresh load of 50 guitars was recently delivered, and we immediately placed an order for more musical instruments. Right next to our new portacabin is a new portacabin used by the Dutch Boat Refugee Foundation with whom we work closely together. We have placed three large parasols in front of the two cabins to make a small veranda where we can teach classes in the shade.
We welcome the extra opportunities and will do everything in our power to make a positive contribution to Moria. Our aim is to make as many children and their parents as possible feel better through music.
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