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Cultural Transmission


There is one community park in the heart of Shariya village. It’s well taken care of, and has become the gathering place especially for families and the elderly. Everyone loves benches in Kurdistan. You want to give a great present, buy a bench. Seriously. So a park with benches is the number one place to go. By late afternoon the heat retreats, and the women have finished their house duties. Kids having siested for hours are now showered and ready for a late, late, late bedtime, so everyone heads to the park. During the summer months, as many of you will know, we hold monthly late afternoon activities in the park, Art in the Park where we bring the community together with art, music and dancing. Life in the village is still stark, devoid of exposure to anything other than Yezidi or Kurdish tradition. Children don’t go to extra curricular activities, their horizons are not expanded outside their very stark school world. Our aim is to expand horizons, to show that the world of art and music does not challenge their culture but adds a modern depth and breadth to it, it showcases talent in a context that is acceptable to those sitting on the benches. It is fun, it is non threatening. In fact after every event, we have parents who come to us, asking if we can register their children. Art in the Park is both a bridge and a door. The gardener Mr Ayaz come to us after the event asking if both he and his son could register for English classes…welcome Sir.




 

Salam, Art Director.

“Art in the Park shifts the atmosphere in the park. I have noticed this every time that we do such an activity. The park might be full of people sitting on benches and children running around, but somehow the park is empty, waiting to be brought to life. Art in the Park is loved and welcomed by all the villagers. We have to prepare well, obtain permission from the police and security, who always send someone as a guard. This month we asked permission to paint the paving stones and the garbage cans, which was very well received and accepted with gratitude by the municipality. Doing this also gave us a new focus, as we didn’t want just to repeat what we have done in previous events. Doing that really drew the community together. We noticed that some children went home to change out of their finery, or asked for Springs of Hope t-shirts to protect their clothes. Art in the Park lifts the spirits of the community, we notice that the parents begin to smile when they see their children painting, dancing, playing games, and above all happy and content. For a few hours it is as if we have given the kiss of life to Sleeping Beauty.” Salam, Art Director.



 

Aida


“I always come to art class which I love, but Art in the Park was a new experience for me. I would not have believed the power and effect that art and music can have upon a group of people until I experienced it.

I was so happy to paint the stones. I did not know that such a thing was possible. I thought that the stones in the Hope Centre came in color, I did not know that we could paint them. It was such an incredible transformation. We didn't have time to paint all the walkways as it became dark but I hope that we can return to complete our painting.” Aida


 

Fadya


“I have participated in all our park events, this time it was not so crowded because of the heat, even the early evening is too hot for many people. I was happy because it was easy to work with the children from the village. I saw some running to tell their friends that we had returned to the park and were doing activities. I also noticed that on their paintings most had written “Thank you“ or “I am thankful.“

It was a very special time and the village became more happy and relaxed.”

Fadya



 

Saher and Azam


“We, Azam and I, hang out in the park on the benches but there is nothing to do. It’s just a place that is central and we meet there. To paint the stones, to touch the ground and paint it was an incredible experience. It was as if the paths were coming to life, and we were giving meaning to their existence. We don’t have words, other than to say it was an incredible experience.” Saher and Azam.



 

Tahsin


“Our community needs such events. They are an infusion of life. There is no one who takes care of our community, no one who provides activities suitable for all the family. As soon as they see us coming, they go to tell their neighbors, or call them. The village comes alive. The parents trust us. In the beginning there was some caution, they wanted to know exactly what their children would paint and were not so happy if they danced. Today, the mums sit on the benches and chat, knowing that their children are in safe hands and are well taken care of. We the Music Academy students have received everything from Springs of Hope. It’s now our turn to give back and be the cultural influencers for the generation that is coming after us.” Tahsin



 

Ayman


“I actually had an exam on the same day and same hour as the event. As both student and teacher the SOHF event was my priority so I got permission to do my exam the next day. I was actually quite stressed because my teacher did not give me an answer until the very last minute.

It was a fantastic time with great participation. We played Kurdish songs for the elder people in the community so that they would feel accepted and comfortable, then kids songs which made everyone so happy. I know that all those kids in the park went home with a smile and slept in peace that night which is so important particularly for the orphans in our community who have no one to give them love and care.

The artwork was fantastic, I love the way that we all support each other as creative artists, people commented on how close we are to each other, and that we enjoy working together.

I went back to my home in the camp to study for my exam. I was tired but content in knowing that we had impacted the community and one day those young children will walk through our doors.” Ayman



 

Natik

“It’s so important that we help our community. It is easy to remain inside our Academy and focus upon our progression and our students, but going outside into the camp, into the village is our duty.

As Music Director it has been my privilege to raise up the first generation of musicians, some from the camp, some from the village. Events such as Art in the Park are where I enjoy stepping back and letting them express themselves, and influencing the generation of younger children who show an interest in our instruments and music. My team “do life" together. I think our closeness is expressed in our music, which is relaxed and full of joy.

Both the art, the colour, the creativity and the music change the entire atmosphere of the village. Something wonderful spills outside the park fence and brings healing and joy. I watch pick up trucks with farmers stop and listen. They get out and take a video for their evening Facebook post.

I see that these events bring Hope to the community. Many come to ask us where we are located, when they can come to visit, what our educational programme is, when they can register their children, They are presented with a solution to emptiness and boredom and they grab it because they recognise that it is a chance for life, and a better life and education for their children.” Natik




 

Radwan

“Our kids, whether from the camp or the village lack everything. They have no one to lead or inspire them. Art in the Park breaks through the barrenness of their lives and shows them that there is more. It jumpstarts dreams that can one day become reality. Music is healing for both parents and their children, and art stirs up creativity in their mind. It also removes fear or suspicion of the unknown from the minds of the parents. When a parent who comes to the park tired and depressed begins to smile and sing, there is more chance that they will allow their children to learn music, and not see it as a waste of time. There are parents who as they head home, come to thank us for caring for their psychology and ask when we will return. I am proud to play the violin there as it is a sound that no one recognises and draws much curiosity particularly when they see that it adds to the Yezidi culture and does not come to detract from or replace it.” Radwan




 

You can look at Art in the Park as a monthly community event, and it is that. It’s an outreach, it’s a chance to change the atmosphere, to encourage tired parents and bring creative thinking to bored children. However I think you will agree with us when we say that it is more than that. It is an opportunity to influence parents to allow their children to aim higher. It’s an opportunity to encourage timid mothers to see choices for the future. We present the creative arts with a lot of love and care in simple language, with simple ideas, with positive vision, with a down to earth approach that is encouraging and non threatening. We offer keys to unlocking the next generation and to showing them a cultural transmission that is one of DNA and not just marks on a school grade card. As the summer draws to a close please keep our village community in your mind and prayers, that we will continue to be an influence for change, so that gently we can help young, talented children to firstly dream, and to achieve their dreams. Pray for our second generation of teachers, who just a year ago were our students, and are now the movers and shakers, all carrying the DNA of Springs of Hope to the generation that are now following them and looking up to them, as camp kids who made it.



 

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Will you help us change the atmosphere - bringing life and hope to the village and opening up new possibilities for future generations?

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