Bring music education to Iraq
Send Jerry Joseph, musician and music teacher, to Iraq
Help international touring artist Jerry Joseph bring music and music education to local youth and refugees living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
This spring, Jerry Joseph, critically-acclaimed songwriter and international touring artist based in Portland, Oregon, is traveling to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to perform, collaborate with local musicians and provide music education to refugees in the UN-run Arbat refugee camp and local youths in the city of Sulaimani.
Jerry is raising money through this GoFundMe campaign to:
1) Fund his trip to the Kurdistan Region and cover costs associated with travel and trip coordination, which includes such expenses as airfare, warzone insurance, ground transportation, etc.
2) Secure 14 guitars or saz instruments to provide to Syrian refugees (7 girls and 7 boys aged 13-25) living in the Arbat refugee camp, including shipping and logistics necessary to get the instruments into the region.
3) Any money raised beyond that will be donated one of the local NGOs working with the UNHCR in the Arbat Camp.
In 2014, Jerry traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan to teach in an underground rock and roll school there, the Kabul Rock School. To see more about Jerry’s work in Afghanistan, see the links below:
Hearing of this, Jeffrey Koncsol, a fan of Jerry’s music who is also a professor of Law with the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), along with Oliver Keels, the Director of Student Services, contacted Jerry about doing similar work in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Staff at the American University regularly volunteer at the nearby permanent refugee camp in Arbat. The camp is run by the United Nations’ High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Last year, students and staff from AUIS organized a “Refugees Got Talent” show at the camp. To see more about that event, just follow the link below:
The Work in Iraq
There are two local NGOs working the Arbat camp providing music lessons to youth living there, the Civil Development Organization (CDO) and an organization called STEP. They have 14 students, 7 girls and 7 boys, aged 13-25. While in the Arbat camp, Jerry will provide music lessons to the students, as well as put on performances during a planned week of art activities at the camp. In addition, Jerry is raising funds to provide each of those students with either a guitar or saz instrument.
Beyond the work in the camp, Jerry will also be conducting music seminars with aspiring AUIS music students, and will be part of a fundraising concert for the Arbat camp to be put on by AUIS in Sulaimani.
Music is a universal language that connects all people regardless of differences in culture, religion, geographic borders or political affiliation. It is a unifying force, promoting peace, dialogue and understanding. This is particularly true in conflict zones, where art and music can provide solace, hope and healing to those impacted by war and violence.
As Jerry would say it, "I think particularly now...in these days of Islamaphobia and xenophobia in general, it's crucial that these young people know there are many people over here who actually give a damn about them and their futures. If I didn't have my own children at home...I would be doing nothing but this..."
Refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
The UNHCR works with numerous international organizations, large and small, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to help the waves of refugees that have fled the violence in Iraq and Syria. To get a sense of the work being done there, and the needs of those in the various camps, please follow the links below:
About the Artist
Jerry Joseph has been writing, recording and playing music for well over three decades, and has released over 25 records as a solo artist and frontman for bands such as The Jackmormons, Stockholm Syndrome, Little Women and The Denmark Vesseys. In 2014, Jerry traveled to Afghanistan to work as a teacher at Rock School Kabul and bring needed music equipment to the school. He performs more than 150 shows a year across the globe, including recent tours in Lebanon, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Costa Rica and Nicaragua as well as Europe and the United States.
Other Ways You Can Help
Just letting people know is a great way to help. Let people know by email, facebook, twitter, etc. GoFundMe has some great sharing tools you can use. Help get the word out!
Joe Kempler is Jerry Joseph's business manager and attorney. In that capacity, Joe will be withdrawing funds from this campaign in order to directly pay certain expenses on Jerry's behalf such as the cost of acquiring and shipping guitars and other items to be donated to the refugee camps, as well as travel and insurance expenses. To the extent there are funds in excess of such expenses, Joe will deliver those funds to Jerry before Jerry leaves for Iraq so that Jerry can make further donations to the refugee camps in Iraq.
someone just updated this Go Fund Me page in a FANTASTIC way. it is so well written and helps everyone see clearly how VALID, Honorable, and IMPORTANT this work is in Iraq. it is an Honor to uphold this mission. thank you for detailing the work, the man, and the specific NGOs involved. wonderful working with you all to change the lives of children in the most vulnerable, war-torn parts of our World.