Why we need your helpUPDATE 8th July
So our appeal with Chuffed ends today! Thanks so much to all those 126 supporters who so generously contributed to the fund. We exceeded our target of £6,000 and today it stands at £7,319. We have also received some additional donations which were sent straight to us which we appreciate very much. Anyone who sees this site and still wants to donate should contact us directly via our website: brightonpalestinecampaign.org.uk.
We have now started the detailed planning for the concert in 2016 and we will keep all donors informed of progress. We will also post information on our own website. We are in touch with the Gaza Music School and with adult musicians, including Palestinian musicians there and abroad as well as in the UK, who would be keen to perform with the children. Many different possibilities are being explored.... but the fact that we have achieved a core fund gives us the practical basis to move forward. SO THANK YOU TO ALL.
What we are planning to do
This May, during the annual Brighton Festival in the UK, we launched our appeal to help us cover the costs of bringing over four talented young musicians from the wonderful Music School in Gaza for next year's Festival.
In the past two years, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to organise concerts in which adult Palestinian musicians played for us during the Brighton Festival Fringe. What we propose for the Festival in 2016 is rather different. Bringing young musicians out of Gaza, and then arranging a major concert in Brighton at which they will play, is a more ambitious and expensive project. This is why we need your help to cover the costs. The children will need to be accompanied by an adult so there are air fares to be found, plus visas, and the costs of the concert itself. Much of the work will be done by ourselves as volunteers and we hope to find accommodation for the children from our own homes but we still need to raise at least £6,000.
£6,000 was always our minimum budget. With additional funds we will be able to do so much more - pay for more and better publicity for the concert, hire musical instruments, bring in other artists to support the children, hire a bigger venue with better acoustics. We can pay more of the children's travel expenses and maybe take them for treats in our area or even pay for travel for them to give concerts elsewhere in the UK. We will of course provide reports to all our donors about what we are doing with your money. Our treasurer keeps meticulous records and all money raised from this appeal does not form part of our general funds.
Please note that both credit cards and debit cards are accepted. You will be asked to donate to the crowdfunding site Chuffed (optional and you can make it as big or as small as you wish - or zero) and there is a small card transaction fee. All your donation comes to the appeal.
In the unlikely event that we cannot obtain UK visas for the children to enter the UK and are then unable to present them at a concert, we plan to donate the funds we raise directly to the Gaza Music School to help them continue their good work.
Who we are
We are members of the Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, committed to the struggle for justice and self-determination for the Palestinian people. (www.brightonpalestinecampaign.org)
We campaign to raise public awareness about Palestine through both political and cultural activities. In the summer of 2014 we organised a series of demonstration in Brighton in protest and in memory of those who were killed or injured when the Israeli army bombed homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza.
One of our special concerns has been the terrible long-term damage, both physical and psychological, which has been inflicted on the children of Gaza. The UN states that over 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the raids of 2014. Of these 1,462 were civilians, including 495 children. 10,700 were wounded: 3,374 were children, of whom over 1,000 were left disabled. These figures have been provided to the UN by the Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem. These are likely to be conservative figures. It is generally accepted that all Gaza's children have been traumatised, having somatic symptoms such as aching knees and backs, stomach ache, insomnia, hypervigilance, anxiety for parents' safety and clinging to parents. On top of that, over a quarter of the population has been displaced.
Our group has sent money to support the relief aid but we are also concerned to nurture those initiatives and organisations which bring hope and the promise of a better future to the Gazan people. The Gaza Music School is one such initiative which needs our support.
The Gaza Music School
The Gaza School of Music was established in 2008 by the A. M. Qattan foundation under the academic supervision of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (www.ncm.birzeit.edu). In 2012, the ownership of the Gaza school was given by Qattan to the ESNCM and thus became its 5th branch in Palestine. For the first time, a structured musical education was made available in Gaza for children aged 6 to 16. There are over 200 enrolled students who are learning to play both Palestinian instruments, including the Oud and Qanan, and European instruments, including the piano, cello and violin. The Music School miraculously survived the devastation which happened in 2014, having previously being re-built after the bombing raids of 2009.