Hope Competition: Crafting Violins to Support Syrian Refugees

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Late last fall, Marios Pavlou, a third-year student at The Newark School of Violin Making in the UK, reached out to Anera with a unique proposition: his school wanted to donate the proceeds from their instrument-building competition. The Newark School wanted sales of the instruments to support an organization working with Syrian refugees.

Pavlou, originally from Cyprus, organized the Newark School Hope Competition with the hopes of “help(ing) in our own small way the victims of the Syrian conflict.” He wants to contribute to a future where “all forms of conflict, wherever they may be, will become things of the past.”

Given two months to complete their instruments, teams of Newark School students made four violins and two steel guitars. While the instruments were judged for their sound and performance, the competition was also a community-building effort, bringing together different sectors of the European music community to improve the lives of Syrian refugees.

Jennifer Pike with the winning violin and team, led by Marios Pavlou (far right)

Award-winning British violinist Jennifer Pike with the winning violin and team, led by Marios Pavlou (far right).

The competition organizers gathered sponsorships and instrument materials donated by a number of suppliers and musicians to make the competition possible. They were elated when they received a commitment from Tarisio Auctions, an internationally renowned auction house for fine and rare stringed instruments and bows, to sell the winning instrument in the competition on its platform.

Bidding ended on March 18, with the winning violin selling for 2,750 pounds ($3,6534).

Tarisio auction of the winning violin

Pavlou was inspired to launch the Hope Competition after closely following the plight of Syrian refugees. “It’s unfair and sad seeing myself, living in a peaceful place, having all the resources to be healthy,” he says. “And on the other side of the world millions of people are suffering for reasons beyond their control.”

Money raised from this project will fund the purchase of graduation kits for Syrian refugee youth participating in Anera’s vocational training programs in Lebanon.

Hope Competition-students making an instrument

Hope Competition student making an instrument

Watch as violinist Jennifer Pike tries out the violins produced for the Hope Competition in the video below.

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