About Voices Beyond Divisions
Voices Beyond Divisions was conceived by Asha Parkinson who was deeply moved by the crisis in Syria. She composed What War? for children to sing alongside top teenage singers and players plus professional players of Middle-Eastern oud and ney. It’s based on quotations on a theme of peace from the Q’uran, the Talmud and the Bible, with accompanying music bringing together ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ musical influences. It was performed for the first time in the concert on January 19th at St James’, Piccadilly, London with children from Al Iqra Islamic Primary School, Akiva Jewish Primary School and St Peter’s RC Primary School, Woolwich alongside singers and instrumentalists from The Purcell School of Music and others. The concert rasied over £1000 for the charity, Syria Relief.
Out first project set a pattern for ways to teach children about deep values of peaceful tolerance and mutual understanding. They shared songs and words from their own traditions and heard World wisdom tales on themes of peace and conflict resolution, told by a leading professional storyteller. They also received talks and workshops from World Jewish Relief, Christian Aid and Syria Relief and were introduced to practical relief work in Syria and with refugees across the world. They recorded messages of peace and sympathy that went out to 16,000 children in Syria. And most importantly they took part in fun activities together and got to know and understand each other.
‘Well at first I thought it was going to be scary because I think the Islamics are the ones who made the bombs in Gaza and Israel, but when we met a month ago, my friend and I think two others from the other school, we made up an actual gang because we all supported Arsenal and we've just been seeing each other ever since. And one of our friends from another school (Iqra) , it's his birthday on the day of the concert so I'm getting him a present" ...
Ethan (Akiva Jewish Primary)
"The workshop has told me that different religions from all over the world, it doesn't really matter if they're from different religions because they're still human. What are we? We're human" ...
The Final film
We hope you’ll enjoy watching the various clips already linked to this site. We’re still working on a final film based on the Voices Beyond Divisions concert and combined with footage and still provided by Syria Relief and others. Watch this space!
Beyond Divisions Education Trust was set up to support this project and future ones like it. It aims to bring young people together to look beyond limiting beliefs and prejudices, towards mutual understanding of our common humanity.
OUR WARMEST THANKS are due to all of the very generous people who responded to our appeal on Crowdfunder.co.uk earlier this year, to the generous additional funding we have received from The Aziz Foundation and from the LUSH Charity Pot. Without all that, we would not have been able to run this project.
Donations to our future work can still be accepted
Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details.