International Children’s Choir of Maltepe District Governorship
International Children’s Choir of Maltepe District Governorship, whose members are 185 children from 22 nations, performed its first concert in in Maltepe Türkan Saylan Cultural Center on 9 December 2018. This event was the first project activity of “We Learn from Children, We Shall Integrate Those with Art: International Children’s Choir of Maltepe District Governorship” The main project has been developed and executed by Maltepe District Governorship in association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Artists’ Arts and Culture Association (SANSEV).
As Mevlana says: ‘’Come whoever you are’’!
Mr. Meftun Dallı, the governor of Maltepe district, explained their aim as strengthening the social cohesion and acquaintance of the host and refugee communities. He also stated that ‘’The more we move together, the more we can cover a distance together‘’. To exemplify, he gave two popular quotes of Yunus Emre and Mevlana, who are the two cornerstone thinkers in Turkish culture. Yunus Emre tells: “People become hostile only to things that he/she does not know”. Besides, Mevlana tells: ‘’Come whoever you are. This door is not a gate of negativity’. The Governor Mr. Meftun Dallı concluded as following: ‘’We embrace all people in light of these two quotes, so nobody feels himself as a guest here in Maltepe and Turkey”. After the Governor’s speech, the choir took the stage. Finally, 4 foreign parents from Syria, USA, Ukraine, Tajikistan introduced themselves, and talked about the project and how they earn their living in Maltepe.
185 Children from 22 Countries who Live in Maltepe Sang Brotherhood Songs in Three Languages.
A total of 317 children from 22 nationalities are educated in the schools located in Maltepe district. Out of these children, 214 ones were accepted to the International Children’s Choir due to their success in musical activities. Although the children’s choir was launched only a few months ago, it managed to perform its first concert in such a short time.
Repertoire works are another ground breaking aspect of the project. By oral history and ethnographic studies, the lyrics of songs performed by the choir will be collected from the parents of 317 refugee or foreign citizens who live in Maltepe district. Collected songs will be composed and translated into 3 foreign languages (i.e. English, Arabic, Russian). Shooting some scenes from reportoire studies, it is planned to produce some artistic outcomes as well, such as a documentary or short film.
All of us are Strangers in this World
Köksal Banoğlu, the director-general of the Foreign Affairs and EU Projects Office in Maltepe District Governorship, said that; “Not only are Syrian refugees subject to cultural integration issue, but also all foreign people who live in Turkey are. Despite this fact, Syrian refugees get more intensive media coverage and catch the eyes because they fled from the war to our country in large crowds. In this project, our target audience is all foreign people in Maltepe, i.e. 317 children and their parents from 22 nations. These people have much to learn from each other. Likewise, we have much to learn from them. To that end, I strongly believe that the common language is to be art and songs. Please keep in mind that all of us are strangers on earth during our short lifespans. Therefore, it should be clearly acknowledged that no one is superior to another in this world we share.”