Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, 5.5 million Syrian people have fled their homes. 90% have been displaced to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Lebanon houses 1.5 million Syrian refugees, in addition to a total population of 4 million Lebanese people. In Lebanon alone, tension is rising among the Lebanese people, the former Palestinian refugees and the newly arrived Syrian refugees. The Lebanese government has forbidden NGOs to provide education for the refugee children. While it has opened public schools for Syrian children, the capacity is too small meaning only 25% of the Syrian children can go to school. The education which is provided is limited, and offers little creativity. Schools work in shifts which prevent children of different origins to meet and connect. At Sounds of Change, we think these are important issues to address; availability of places in schools, lack of creativity, refugee children from different countries are not able to meet/connect.

After visiting and working in Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, Turkey and Palestine, Sounds of Change developed two creative solutions. Based on our experiences, having worked and visited in these places, we have developed an approach whereby groups of refugee children from different countries participate in our music workshops. By bringing children together this way, we can really build meaningful bridges between Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese people, children and adults alike. The smiles on peoples’ faces during and after our workshops tell us this approach is helping to build those bridges.

Secondly, we want to make a long-term impact on children’s lives. We do this by training youngsters and adults to become music teachers and workshop leaders and thereby give them a chance to become more meaningful within their own communities.

Currently there are very little opportunities for them. By offering them teacher trainings, we provide them with practical skills and therefore a higher chance in finding a job as such as a teacher with an NGO or school in the neighborhood.