Bernard Tockmaji, Syria Fellow
About 5 years ago I was just starting my teaching career and I was teaching at a place that used to be a kindergarten in the morning and a musical institution after school hours.
At the time the situation in Damascus, the capital of Syria, wasn’t safe and things weren’t good, but people never stopped going to school or taking guitar lessons.
So as usual, I was going to my place of work right after school hours and I arrived a bit earlier than usual. The kids from the kindergarten were still there, so their teacher asked me if I could do something to cheer the kids up since they hadn’t been having the best days there. I suggested I’d play them a concert, so we sat them down on the stairs of their school and I sat on the floor and I started playing the songs that they memorized in their class while they sang and danced with me. That day, a little kid who was sad before I started playing music started dancing with me as soon as I played, and his eyes sparkled with joy and happiness.
That’s when I decided that I’ll spend whatever time I have educating and sending my musical message across the world, because if I am able to make even one sad child happy, I’d ask for nothing more.
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