Peace Children Orchestra Conservation and Development Association (Barış Çocuk Orkestrası Koruma ve Geliştirme Derneği) is receiving financial support from our Donor-Advised Fund to cover the maintenance costs of the orchestra’s existing instruments, to purchase new instruments and to cover the association’s human resources expenses.
Read below our interview:
This is the first time the Peace Children Orchestra Conservation and Development Association is receiving a grant from our foundation. Can you tell us about the aim and activities of your association?
The Peace Children Orchestra project aims to remove the barriers hindering the right to participate in the arts by integrating with the neighbourhood where it is established. The association was founded to support this project.
The project’s main objective is to provide free music education to as many children as possible and to protect these children from the dangers of the streets. In this project, “MUSIC” is the tool that best expresses peace, freedom and justice, the power of which we strongly believe in. Music is the greatest support in creating a peaceful way of life. With this belief and goal, we accept every child who applies to us without any aptitude test. Some learn quickly, and some remain at the same level for years, but children are never told or made to feel that they are not suitable for the job. In our association, we provide music education with qualified instructors for the groups that we determine according to the levels of the children. These groups, consisting of children between the ages of 7-17, can attend the trainings two days a week. On Saturdays, the entire orchestra comes together for rehearsal. Once or twice a year, we invite an international artist that our children can accompany on stage, and we perform together.
Music is the greatest support in creating a peaceful way of life.
You carry out your activities in neighbourhoods of Izmir where the rate of juvenile delinquency is high. Can you tell us about the situation of the children you work with and the reasons why you chose to work with this group?
The region we work in is one of the most migrated regions of Izmir, where addictive substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are consumed the most. The lack of self-confidence is very noticeable. You can witness a street clash at any time of the day. Families are afraid to go out when it gets dark. For all these reasons, we chose this region specifically. The aim here is to protect children from dangers through music. Drug use in the region has gone down to very young ages. Poverty is visible. In short, this is the ideal place for this project.
Can you tell us about the effects of your work on children? When you think about the children you have worked with in the past, how does music affect children’s well-being?
First of all, we observe an increase in children’s self-confidence. Apart from music education, we also carry out various activities that support our association’s purpose. For instance, there is a volunteer teacher who organises philosophy workshops for children, a volunteer teacher who teaches English, and a volunteer psychologist with whom the children can easily discuss their problems. Mothers can also see this psychologist. So, thanks to the music education and these activities, children who were initially fighting, swearing, and carrying pocketknives (which they said they carried to protect themselves), are now much more peaceful and calmer.
The happiness of receiving a standing ovation from the audience, the feeling of accomplishment, and the joy of quality music cannot be described in words.
With the collaborations you have developed as a foundation, you enable the Peace Children Orchestra to perform with world-famous artists. Can you tell us about the significance of these concerts?
It is the greatest happiness of children to perform with world-famous artists at Ahmed Adnan Saygun Art Centre, Izmir’s most perfect hall with European standards. The happiness of receiving a standing ovation from the audience, the feeling of accomplishment, and the joy of quality music cannot be described in words. Families, along with children, were transformed in the process. Over time, families got used to this once unfamiliar type of music. We prepared programs for families explaining what polyphonic music is and how it contributes to children’s brain and personality development. During the pandemic, we conducted fun online activities through Zoom not only for children but also for mothers. Now mothers share with us the pride they experience while watching their children.
Can you tell us about the work you plan to do with the grant support we provide within the scope of the Donor-advised grant?
First of all, we bought a horn to be used by the orchestra members. Our teacher expenses are very high. The grant support you provide contributes to meeting the payments we make to teachers. Thank you for your support!
Peace Children’s Orchestra, established in Izmir, aims to provide free music education to especially socioeconomically disadvantaged children who live in the ghetto areas of Izmir where crime rates are high and the education and income rates of families are low.