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Al Kamandjati, Lebanon

Finding their voice

Al Kamandjati, Lebanon

One of the 2011 busk’s proudest achievements was giving a voice to Palestinian refugee children in Beirut. A group of children performed songs and classical music pieces on the violin and traditional Middle Eastern instruments in busy Hamra Street. Palestinians in Lebanon often have a difficult time, so it was heart-warming to hear how well the spectators received their performance.


The children were from Al Kamandjati, a non-profit French-Palestinian association that brings music education to Palestinian children in Palestine and the refugee camps of Lebanon. Teachers from Al Kamandjati (which means The Violinist) visit the refugee camp of Bourj el Barajneh, near Beirut, every Sunday morning to teach around 30 children how to play instruments ranging from violins and drums to Arabic lutes and flutes.


The refugee camps in Lebanon are largely ignored by the outside world and the refugees tend to be cut off from Lebanese society. They are also estranged from their own homeland and culture. But when Al Kamandjati’s students raised their voices in the fashionable streets of Beirut on 18 June, they could take pride in their culture and their new skill.