Sonbola Choir’s Second Concert at AUB

Nov 2016

The Sonbola Association proposes the 10th of December, 2016 as the day for its second annual concert, held under patronage of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The concert will take place within the Zaki Nassif Program at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and will be supported by the Nai, an Austrian organisation that supports Syrian children through music, as well as Ettijahat-Independent Culture, Global Learning for e-learning, and others.

Earlier in 2016, Sonbola had launched a programme to train Syrian teachers to conduct choirs, led by Maestro Barkev Taslakian, in collaboration with Fayha Choir, and supported by the pilot edition of the Create Syria: a project to support Syrian art in Exile programme, launched by Ettijahat-Independent Culture, the British Council, and International Alert. The five trainees who graduated from the programme and who participated in the Create Syria showcase in September 2016 will also participate in the concert at AUB.

Sonbola’s slogan last year was “Sonbola sings for peace.” On this year’s slogan, Masa al-Mufti, founder of the Sonbola association says: “This year, we wanted a stronger message that would resonate with more people. Our new slogan expresses strong will and determination on hope and the right to live, in the vernacular, rather than standard Arabic: ‘…and Always Singing.’”

Like last year’s concert, Sonbola Choir’s second concert is held under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, ensuring a deeper trust and greater collaboration with the relevant government entities. Masa al-Mufti adds: “It is very important to us that official guests attend and see the high-quality, positive work that active Syrians are doing in Lebanon. This would create a cultural and humanitarian platform for dialogue between Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens.”

Sonbola Choir faces multiple challenges, most important of which is funding. This year, funding was provided by Nai, the Austrian organisation to support Syrian children through music and the official sponsor of Sonbola Choir’s programme. Masa al-Mufti expresses the choir’s gratitude: “The programme is made possible primarily by Nai. While every other organisation we contacted declined to fund the programme, explaining that programmes offering psychological support by strengthening values of dialogue, citizenry, and human rights are not a priority in times of crisis; Nai believed in this programme’s approach to support children and provided adequate support. For that, we are very grateful.”

Sonbola, the Lebanese education NGO, believes that high-quality education is every child’s right. The association aims to bridge the gaps in the education system and support children in severe need for education, through non formal education and learning programmes that focus on e-learning, interactive learning, developing children’s mental and life skills, and providing them with adequate psychological support. Through these activities, the association contributes to mitigating the impacts of pedagogical and educational shortage, spread of violence, and child labour—phenomena imposed by the current circumstances. Sonbola also aims to engage and empower Syrian human resources, for them to be able to develop non-formal learning, and build capacities for times of crisis and future reconstruction. 

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