Two years ago we established a program of community service, whereby once a month some of our Hope Academy of Art students, led by Director Salam would find a needy family in the village, those less abled, those sadly broken families, living (sometimes without charge) in a house that was totally neglected and sad. We painted them Hope. Literally. The houses and the families coming to life. It was a great project and one that we will continue.
As the school year reopened in October we decided to commit our time and attention to the 11 local schools both inside Shariya Camp (5), and in the village (6), and hopefully one of the three schools in the old village. Schools operate on less than a shoestring budget and are devoid of color or anything pleasant and stimulating for the students. Just basic. We now paint areas of one school a month. Salam and Sahla, the Director of the Hope centre, visit the schools, meet with management and decide on a specific (we need boundaries) area to paint. As we are now going into schools, the Hope Academy of Music students volunteered to join the artists and to provide music for the students. This program has become an incredible success not to mention times of great joy and fun, and a place to develop the skill of playing in public. In both schools, Darya in October, and Mezgen last week, we were surprised to discover that our visit, bringing both art and music, was the first exposure of the students to these subjects within an educational frame. Today we will share with you a glimpse into our community service programme which is a win-win for all, something we look forward to, and makes and impact on the students and school management.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Salam, Art Director
“Painting murals on school walls helps to shift the atmosphere which is very sparse in the schools, it creates a pleasant atmosphere and totally changes the surroundings. It also creates an interest in the world of art. As we worked in the first school, Darya, several students approached me saying that they had never received an opportunity to paint. I changed my approach this month in Mezgen school in the village and prepared blank canvases for those who, when they had a break, wanted to try. It was an experiment, I also needed permission from the school management, who readily agreed….an experiment that opened my eyes both to the lack of opportunity within the educational system and to the potential talent lying dormant in students.
The entire school turned out to watch us, management and pupils alike. This brought great joy to my students who saw that their presence and contribution was valued and appreciated.
It’s a perfect combination to work alongside our music students. As color in creativity, and music and rhythm flow in, the entire atmosphere of the school and students change. It becomes lighter, smiles appear, students sit and relax, the management bends the rules a little to allow their students this time of refreshment. Music and art is the perfect combination.”
- Natik. Director of the Hope Academy of Music.
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
“I was raised in Mezgen school, I have so many memories of my childhood here, so I jumped at the opportunity to return, now as a play therapist working with children who were rescued from ISIS and with orphans whose families were killed by ISIS. Honestly, this is the first time that I was able to stop and look back, seeing myself as one of the pupils, and to see where I am now. I am not an artist or musician but I love creativity and incorporate both into my work so to watch my school come alive and the students crowd around looking, and commenting, and just happy and smiling, did so much for me. I was so proud to be part of Springs of Hope and to see us making such an impact on every aspect of our village life, now extending into the educational system. After these events and because we shared on social media, both Mr Salam and Mr Natik received calls from so many schools, all the schools in the area and also from schools outside the village asking for us to come and do the same in their school!! We planned on one year of school painting, it will be two…at least.” - Avya
“Giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
Natik, Music Director
“I am one who carefully observes the progress of my students, as I want our contributions to the community and our performance to be of value to all. My students have received the best musical education possible, and it became evident to me that our musical knowledge and accomplishment should not be kept behind the gates of Springs of Hope Foundation. It is time to look outwards and to share our creative expressions with the public, particularly school age students whom we still have a chance to inspire them and maybe shape their future. I have been a teacher with Springs of Hope for eight years now. It is unprecedented in my career as a Music Director to witness such a vibrant display of music and art in an educational institution, and yes I include institutions of advanced education in my statement. Nothing like this has ever happened in a Shariya camp or village school, it is unheard of, unthought of. The impact of this event was profound, eliciting joy and astonishment from all of the school’s teachers and the management. Students were elated, finding it a refreshing break, some busied themselves taking selfies using the murals or our musicians as their background! Some students came up to us and in chatting I heard comments such as “It's a welcome break from our exams” or one girl who chose to paint on a canvas that Salam had brought, “I have never painted before and just discovered how enjoyable it is to paint! I have never even thought of such a thing." Some students expressed that it was as if the “school came to life, and woke from a long sleep." I firmly believe that working within schools holds tremendous potential to encourage and elevate the student’s educational experience, fostering a deeper love for learning and giving them a sense of care and ownership of their educational environment. The teachers were initially skeptical. Very skeptical. This was totally new to them, out of the educational and cultural box so to speak but as the music filled the atmosphere and colour, form and content appeared on their bare walls, their body language and tone changed leaving them highly impressed by the high standard of Springs of Hope Foundation and our accomplishments that day. The feedback was crazy, our social media was flooded with positive feedback and requests from all the village and Duhok to do the same in schools and educational institutions. I am very proud of my students and our Springs of Hope team of Academy students who are always ready to give to others and show them the way. - Natik, Music Director
Sagvan Rashed, Headmaster of Mazgen School
“My name is Sagvan Rashed, I am the Headmaster of Mazgen School. The school was founded in 2003, has 115 students which include those from Shariya village, and the surrounding villages, and Internally Displaced Persons living outside the camp.
Thanks so much to all the staff who came and to Springs of Hope Foundation for including us in your wonderful community service program.
My students greatly benefited from your gift to us and the entire activity of both music and art. I hope to see many more activities like this which benefit both the students and the community in general, especially for the educational facilities in the Shariya community.
Warm regards to you all, and much love and thanks to every member of Springs of Hope. Thank you for everything. God bless you.”
- Sagvan Rashed, Headmaster
The Certificate of Appreciation given to Springs of Hope Foundation by Mr. Sagvan on behalf of Mezgen school reads, “The Mezgen school acknowledges your valuable contribution and hard work in the art and music event, relating to the educational development of our school. We give thanks and appreciation to Springs of Hope Foundation and all its staff."
Giving back to our community is one of the principles by which we live. Whether it is giving our time and expertise to autistic or Down's Syndrome kiddies at Horses for Hope or commissioning our students to go out into the community, it is a result of gratitude and thankfulness for all that we have received, that we have been given. We kindly ask you to consider enabling us to continue to go into the community and paint it HOPE. Each school activity costs us $250 per month. Thank you.
Can you help?
With your help, we are taking HOPE out into the community. Can you help us invest in the local schools - each school activity costs $250 per month.