Music workshop for refugee children
A video interview with Washington Post
My name is Mariela Shaker, 25. I am a violinist from Aleppo, Syria. I came to the US two years ago as I got a scholarship to complete my music studies in Monmouth College. I graduated last month and I got a second bachelor degree in Music Performance. While I was in Syria, I was teaching the violin at the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo for five years and I was studying Business Administration at Aleppo University. I am currently in Chicago and I will start my Master of Music Performance at DePaul University next fall. I got an invitation recently from UNHCR to perform at the Kennedy Center in celebration of World Refugee day, and I was honored at the White House and named as a Champion of Change for World Refugee, 2015.
Although I do possess a B.A. in Business Administration, music and playing the violin has been and is still very special to my heart. I am now more than ever attempting and striving for the pursuance of a career in music.
When I think of my injured city of Aleppo, I feel that music is able to be the remedy that can mend the souls of Syrian citizens. We should put our hands together and put in all our efforts to rebuild this city and country. Rebuilding the infrastructure is just one thing that be done with our hands, but rebuilding the humanity and deconstructing the antagonism from the minds of the people is another thing that should be done with our hearts.
Since arriving to the United States, my professional life has been dedicated to immense work and practice on my violin to achieve success in the music world. Yet my soul is still deeply concerned for my family and friends in Syria. I am barely able to concentrate at times, especially when in the course of hearing about the tragic circumstances of which plague personal relatives and childhood friends, and the deprivation of the basics of life of which they are enduring. I value and appreciate, with immense thankfulness, the extraordinary opportunity that I received in coming to the US.
Even though I feel powerless to change the current situation in Syria, politically and socially, I am committed to the power of music and I believe in its ability to fashion peace and love. I hope this music will one day help to heal the pain in the world.
I have a dream of which I would be grateful in receiving your support for. I would like to visit the Syrian Refugees camps in Turkey and Lebanon, and to direct various music workshops for the Syrian children. These children have been exposed to a number of extremely inhumane and harsh scenes, and were forced to abandon their former lives and to flee their homelands in their struggle to survive the war. Together, let’s help these children to forget the war for a while, and to give them the chance to touch and taste the beauty of music. We need to return a smile to their faces and to reinvigorate a sense of joy in their lives.
It would be great if we could in fact convey to these children the choice of carrying that of a musical instrument versus that of carrying a weapon.
To support this fundraiser cause, I sold some DVDs of my senior recital at Monmouth College after my performance at the Kennedy Center and I was able to raise $352.00. Even though this is a small amount, it is just the starting point and would allow me to purchase 2-3 music instruments. In addition to, with the great assistance of and in alliance with international humanitarian foundations and organizations, we can make this idea flourish into reality. Your help and support will make a difference in the future of Syrian Children.
I truly believe in music that it is the bridge the connect us together. I believe that the power of music will help in publishing peace and love in the world. I believe that it can help remove the pain this world has felt, and can fill hearts and minds with hope and happiness. Music will be able to make this world a beautiful place to live in, and can help the light overcome the darkness. Music is what we need now in order to learn to how to give, live and love without borders.
“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” Khalil Gibran
My performance at the Kennedy Center:
An article by BuzzFeed:
An article by UNHCR: