By: Omar Fehmi and Ziad Fehmi
On February 28,The Center for Arab American Philanthropy hosted the very first Piano Keys for Syrian Kids in Commerce Township, Michigan. The piano concert was the idea of high school students Omar and Ziad Fehmi, and raised $9,843 in support of UNICEF’s work on behalf of Syrian children. When asked about the event and their inspiration, here is what they said:
What was your inspiration for hosting Piano Keys for Syrian Kids?
Ziad: A whole generation of children of the civil war in Syria has been torn away from their homes and any semblance of normal life that they had. They are forced to live in a camp were they cannot truly experience childhood, cannot attend school or participate in any childhood activities. Many have been orphaned, having lost one or both parents. We decided to try to make a difference in the lives of these children by raising money to help them overcome their hardships. When we started though, we would have never imagined this project to attract the amount of attention it did and we are very happy the way this turned out.
Omar: Although we will never truly be able to understand the position that the Syrian children have been put in, our goal in supporting the Syrian children is to give them back the lives they once had. We want them to have the same opportunities that we have. Adults can get jobs, can get money, and can continue on with life. Children with inadequate support systems cannot support themselves; our goal is to be able to aid these children who have no one supporting them.
Why did you choose to support UNICEF?
Omar: When we were looking for an organization to receive and use the funds raised by our event, we looked for a reputable and efficient organization that already has the means to accomplish our goal; to aid the refugee Syrian children.
Ziad: UNICEF is also one of the most reputable organizations in the region because of its ties to the United Nations, this cemented our choice and made it simple.
What was you experience with this event?
Ziad: The experience of setting up and presenting in this concert was fun and something I will never forget. For the event, I made a three minute video that showed the crisis that these Syrian children are facing. I spend a lot of time and put a lot of effort into creating the movie which had a strong impact on the audience, showing them the atrocities inflicted on these children by the war.
The day of the event was one of the most exciting in of my life. The concert was a huge success; we had a packed house and no dry eyes in the audience. Everyone was touched by the concert. In the end, I think the most rewarding thing I can take from this experience was the feeling of fulfillment, knowing that I had helped a child who was robbed of the opportunity to live a normal life.
To learn more about UNICEF’s work in Syria, please visit www.unicefusa.org/syria