Expressive Arts Refuge is ramping up to run a music and English program this summer at Skaramagas Refugee Camp near Athens, Greece.
EAR is excited to partner with teachers at Skaramagas Refugee Camp’s Hope School to work with 350 refugee children who live at the camp. The teachers — chiefly young professionals who fled war in Syria — educate children from Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Afghanistan. The residents of the camp walked hundreds, some thousands of miles, and paid smugglers to ride a flimsy inflatable boat to Greece. As they wait for Europeans and Americans to decide their fate, Expressive Arts Refuge is planning a program to support their education and ease the tedium of their days.
The 2017 EAR team includes: Master singer and arranger Moira Smiley will teach and perform songs, supported by EAR musicians. EAR director Betsy Blakeslee will lead singing and body music to rebalance the nervous systems of adults and children who fled war and conflict zones. Author and educator Judy Kranzler will train teachers at Hope School in cutting edge, culturally sensitive educational methods. Tami Halaby and Andy Wyrobek will assist Judy. Tawfic Halaby will translate conversations and classes into Arabic.
For translation into other languages, we’ll hire resident translators in the camp, leading to new friendships and an expanded team. We learn so much from people who are different from us. It is a truism that they give us as much as we give them.
We might make room for one more on our team — a bass or alto with IT savvy, performance and teaching experience, who can pay their own way, and of course, handle the grit, chaos and sadness of working in a refugee camp. Or an art therapist.
It’s time for packing, sim card queries, gathering supplies, tweaking repertoire, renting out my house in Orinda from June 23 – Aug 28, and buying bilingual dictionaries that we will use, then donate. In short, ramping up.