By Omar and Ziad Fehmi
Piano Keys for Syrian Kids is a Piano Concert benefiting the Children involved in the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Funds are raised through donations and ticket sales. My brother and I have run this event for the past three years and raised over $48,000 for the children of Syria. Our Syrian Heritage made us more sensitive to the situation in Syria, and one day over the dinner table we decided to do something about it. The more we looked into the situation the more we saw the need to do something. Children having their childhood robbed from them over something they have no control over was too much for us to bear so we decided to organize a fundraiser. The Piano Keys for Syrian Kids fundraiser is a piano recital where students come together to display their talents and perform musical selections all while raising money for children in need. This year’s concert was at Detroit Country Day School and had an attendance of over three hundred. We started the concert by showing an informative movie made by Ziad followed by a short speech (Ziad served as the master of ceremonies). After, Omar and the other student pianists played their pieces, Omar shared a few remarks, and then the pianists were recognized and presented with a certificate concluding the event.
The movie Ziad created focused on informing the audience about the Syrian refugee crisis. Instead of just providing an overview as done in past years, this year the movie covered more specific issues which better humanized and re-sensitized the situation. It covered problems including human trafficking, the lack of schooling in refugee camps, the hardships internally displaced people in Syria have endured, and child labor that many Syrian children are exposed to as they seek to provide for their families.
What is so disheartening about the Syrian refugee crisis is that the word refugee has become synonymous with just another statistic. This term (and especially in American culture) is too often lumped with the same numbers describing those affiliated with illegal activity. “Refugee” has unfortunately taken on a negative connotation. Through Piano Keys for Syrian Kids not only was the goal to raise funds to aid displaced impoverished children, but also it was to re-humanize the situation. To remind people that these refugees we are providing aid to are first and foremost children. They are each unique individuals who once had lives as intricate as our own. Kids with lives, dreams, and aspirations just like ours. Kids who attended school and had their daily routine, the same things that we take for granted. All of this has been robbed from them, their futures snatched away by the injustices of war.
We hope to continue contributing to change in the years to come and continue growing the event. Our goal is to spread further awareness and engage a larger community in the noble common cause of helping children.