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Guitars For People In Direct Provision

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I was in the Hazel Direct Provision Centre Wednesday night and had a chat with the residents about what they would like the extra money to go towards. They requested we get a few keyboards and some child-sized guitars. So we’ll do that and maybe keep a small reserve to pay for strings, batteries for the tuners, and other supplies to keep the instruments in working order.

Keep it going! Please share with your friends and on social. We’re collecting until Sunday at midnight.


I am raising €2200 to purchase 20 x guitars, cases, tuners, strings, and stands for use by students at the Hazel Direct Provision Centre in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare.

In Ireland, people in need of international protection must wait in a direct provision centre while waiting to have their asylum claims processed. 

During this time their lives are in limbo. They are waiting. And waiting some more. Sometimes this takes months. Sometimes it takes years. It’s a LOT of waiting and uncertainty.

If the residents had access to instruments throughout the week, they could practice and play whenever they wanted. It would help stave off the boredom of all that waiting and make a positive impact on their mental health and quality of life.

At a community event in my town where neighbours had the opportunity to meet with residents of our local direct provision centre, I was moved to help.

As a musician and a music teacher, I offered what I do best: Weekly guitar lessons to any direct provision residents who were interested. 

Learning an instrument is a skill that can stay with people for their whole lives and be a wonderful form of self-expression and joy. Music can also be therapeutic for people who’ve been through very difficult circumstances. 

My offer of lessons was enthusiastically accepted.

The local school generously agreed to lend me instruments over the summer for these lessons. 

But, the guitars must leave with me after the lesson is over, meaning that the residents are not able to practice or play again for the rest of the week until I return.

The legends at Savins Music Centre in Limerick have generously offered wholesale pricing on all of the instruments and supplies so that I can fully equip 20 students with everything they need to learn and practice over time. 

Please help me to raise €2200 to purchase guitars and supplies so that these amazing and resilient people in my community, and future residents of this Direct Provision Centre, can have the wonderfully healing distraction of music whenever they want it.

Your generous support of any amount is very much appreciated.

You're all a bunch of legends, 

Max Zaska


Do you have support from the community to do this?

Yes. The Monasterevin Community Asylum Seeker Support Group advocates for activities and community integration and fully supports this campaign.

Do you have support from the government to do this?

Yes. My local TD is active in trying to find ways to improve the lives of those living in direct provision in my community:

“Beethoven once said; ‘Music can change the World’.
What an amazing initiative that will engage, and hopefully inspire the residents of the Hazel Hotel. A truly thoughtful gesture by Max to champion such an initiative. I encourage everyone to give generously to this wonderful initiative.” 

Cllr. Kevin Duffy

Do you have permission from the Direct Provision Centre to do this?

Yes. They have been consulted from the beginning.


What happens if you raise more than €2200?

Happy days! Depending on how much money is available, it will go towards purchasing additional instruments. I’ve already had a request from the residents for a keyboard. 

Why don’t you just do an instrument drive? I have an old guitar I could donate.

Instrument drives often require a considerable amount of time and money to inspect, repair, and restore donated guitars. Buying new student guitars ensures that residents can be playing without delay or additional expense and that everything needed to maintain the guitars is on hand.

Why can’t you leave the local school’s guitars at the direct provision centre between lessons?

Insurance and liability reasons.

Will the direct provision centre own the donated guitars?

No, they can’t take ownership or liability for them under their governance.

Will the students own the donated guitars?

No. Due to the cycle of direct provision, when residents receive their asylum application decision, they leave the centre and new applicants take their place. If each student left with a guitar, there wouldn’t be one available for new residents.

Who will own the student guitars that you buy with donations?

I will own them and hold them in trust, though they will stay at the direct provision centre for the benefit of the residents.
If the direct provision centre closes, I will donate any remaining guitars and supplies to another charitable organization.


How do I learn more about the direct provision system in Ireland?

The Irish Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) defines direct provision as:
“Direct provision is a means of meeting the basic needs of food and shelter for asylum seekers directly while their claims for refugee status are being processed rather than through full cash payments. Direct provision commenced on 10 April, 2000 from which time asylum seekers have received full board accommodation and currently, personal allowances of €21.60 per adult and €21.60  per child per week.”

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

The Irish Times explains direct provision (Jan 2018):

Here’s what The New Yorker had to say (June 2019):

How else can I help the residents of direct provision in Monasterevin?

The Monasterevin Community Asylum Seeker Support Group is raising funds to allow children in DP to attend summer camp  with their peers from school and other community integration activities.

How can I become involved in helping asylum seekers?

Connect with your local Direct Provision Centre’s residents to see how you can support them and what community organisations are already in place. There are plenty of organisations focused on helping asylum seekers in Ireland, like:

Irish Refugee Council (IRC) 
Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) 
Nasc Migrant and Refugee Rights 
Our Table 
One World Tapestry 
Support Amnesty  International’s “I Welcome Refugees” campaign 


Who are you?

Max Zaska, professional guitarist, composer, arranger, teacher. I have a BA in Jazz Performance from Newpark Music Centre, I lead a band called ZASKA and I live in Monasterevin, Co, Kildare. 

Why are you doing this?

Because everyone deserves access to music.


Max Zaska

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