Music for refugees


El Sistema Greece is an innovative research programme with the aim to intervene primarily in the musical education and in the life in general of underserved children in Greece.

It has been developed through the close work of greek educational specialists (children psychologists, pedagogists) with El Sistema in Venezuela and adapted to the reality of the marginalised families of the country.

Our mission is to offer free music education to all children who have lived the experience of leaving their homes in search of a future, or are underserved and underprivileged in a country heavily struck by a multiple level crisis. By providing them access to cultural education & artistic exposure, we aim to give them a social and educational experience which will improve their lives in the neighbourhoods, the camps or the places where these children live, while we contribute towards their inclusion in Greece and the European society.

El Sistema’ s goal, is more then musical excellency. Through practising, they learn to set a goal, and work hard to achieve it; through their constant exposure from the monthly performances, they build confidence; through playing & learning in group formats (chorus or orchestra), the practise community, respect and collaboration; through following a routine, they learn discipline; through the musical achievement, they learn about excellency; through the co-creation of playing or signing together, they enjoy, have fun, and they experience how is a world without prejudice & see the other across the stereotypes. Finally, through music, an important healing is achieved for the children that have suffered from various reasons.

Our programme is run by a group of professional lyrical singers & symphonic orchestra musicians accompanied by translators from refugee communities, and is supported greatly by international known artists & music ensembles, European Conservatoires and of course, El Sistema in Venezuela.

Since the launch of the first classes in the beginning of November 2016, El Sistena in Greece works in three locations (Skaramagkas camp, Lavrio camp, and City of Athens hosting structures) and reaches more than 130 children in each weekly activities.

Three El Sistema Venezuela artists have visited Athens since then, in order to work with the team to develop the overall strategy, to work with the teachers to pass on the methodology & pedagogical practise, and finally, work with the children, offering them a full El Sistema experience. Lourdes Sanchez, the Director of the National Youth Choir of Venezuela, Raquel Campomas, lead soprano of the National Choir of Venezuela and Ron Alvarez, violonist and founder of Dream Orchestra, the first refugee orchestra in Europe. In addition, am italian baroque ensemble, Il Pomo d’ Oro have committed to join El Sistema Greece activities once per month, delivering workshops, concerts and support in the orchestras & choir classes. Last but not least, El Sistema Greece has produced a musical fairy tale with ActionAid, that describes the story of the kite of a child that flew away from Afganistan, following the journey that the majority of El Sistema Greece children have been through till today.

In March 2017, the first joint classes between refugee children and local kids is kicked off, by monthly open classes at the SNFCC, and weekly joint classes at different locations.

More internationally known artists will be joining El Sistema in Greece, such as Joyce di Donato, soprano, Gerald With, Director of the Boys Choir Vienna, Sofie Jeannin, soloist.

El Sistema in Greece is also hosting the bi-annual summer camp of all Sistemas in Europe this summer, hosting 200 Sistema musicians, aged 13-20, for a two week, intense music education experience that closes with a final concert at Irodion, on the 01 of August 2017.As we grow, the power of music is leading us to more locations, and collaborations, as we seek to plant music cells (nucleos, as they are called) in various underserved areas.

We see that the benefits of music & art education ground on important principles for the SolidarityNow Community Project. Thus, El Sistema Greece is strengthening the community, accelerates cultural exchange, provides safe spaces, and contributes to building education & character for children.

El Sistema Greece is an Impact Hub Athens’ programme, and comes as a changing making vehicle using the qualities of culture & the arts. The Impact Hub ’s mission is to bring together people who are compassionate, committed and care to bring positive impact in the worlds most pressing issues. Education & access to culture is an issue that the Impact Hub Athens team holds close to their heart, while it is a growth industry for the Greek economy. Impact Hub is also about community, and thus, El Sistema is an additional tool of bringing multidisciplinary people together around a common cause, using the universal language of music.

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