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Discovering the unifying force of music Greece

22.08.2016 - Article

The children and young people looked after by the aid organisation PRAKSIS in Greece were more than astonished. They could play brand-new musical instruments together.

The children and young people looked after by the aid organisation PRAKSIS in Greece were more than astonished. The minor refugees, some of whom have never been to school and who arrived in Greece without their parents, had never thought that they would suddenly be given the opportunity to experience the unifying force of music beyond linguistic barriers with the help of brand-new musical instruments. This was made possible by the Federal Foreign Office, which donated the instruments.

Dormitory in Athens becomes a musical

Drumming away
Drumming away© Federal Foreign Office

Presenting the musical instruments to the Greek aid organisation PRAKSIS, a partner of the UNHCR that accommodates unaccompanied minor refugees, was just a formality to set the ball rolling. After that, the children and young people currently staying with the organisation took the wheel. The instruments were examined somewhat timidly and cautiously at first, before being unpacked with visible joyful anticipation. Fourteen-year-old M. from Syria grabbed the guitar and was the first to get going. Having thus broken the ice, the other instruments were quick to find enthusiastic players. Within the space of just a few minutes, the courtyard of the PRAKSIS dormitory in the centre of Athens was transformed into a loud and merry musical stage. Violins, drums, electric guitars and clarinets – a host of sounds and melodies.

Beating a common language

All about rhythm
All about rhythm© Federal Foreign Office

The second stop was the accommodation of “The Smile of the Child/To Hamogelo tou Paidiou”, the local partner of the German aid organisation HELP (Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe) in the Athens suburb of Melissia. The dormitory in Melissia accommodates children who were victims of violence or human trafficking, as well as unaccompanied refugee children. Some 26 children with Greek and other nationalities are currently growing up here. It is like one big family. The many drums, rattles and castanets provided by the German Embassy will ensure plenty of raucous fun in the community playroom from now on. The little sisters H. and L. from Syria, who have only been part of the “dormitory family” for the last two weeks, only speak their mother tongue. But that does not stop both of them from trying out the instruments with the other children and from discovering their common rhythm.

Making music together as a way to promote integration

Jamming together
Jamming together© Federal Foreign Office

The campaign has a clear objective, namely facilitating integration with music and playing music together – with greater self-confidence, group activities, improving concentration, managing stress and educational support.

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