Despite some of the Australian Detention Centres closing, there is still a huge gap when it comes to music instruments being supplied to stressful refugees in custody. When the detention centres at Pontville (Tasmania), Scherger (Queensland) and Port Augusta and Inverbrackie (South Australia) closed down, music instruments from those centres were transferred to other detention centres. But somehow Yongah Hill in Western Australia was forgotten. And the same can be said for the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres. There are many desperate refugees from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, as well as other places, who are stuck at those centres. And once again the Music for Refugee project is doing all it can to assist.
With music instruments being donated from a variety of people in Sydney, including Christians, Jews and Muslims, Music for Refugees has shipped a large container of instruments to Yongah Hill. And this has come about with the assistance of SERCO, the managing agents of all mainland Australian detention centres, agreeing to deliver the consignment. The asylum seekers at Yongah Hill are in for a pleasant surprise when they see that guitars, ukuleles, violins and bongos, plus other instruments, are about to be delivered to them.
Music for Refugees has also packaged two huge containers for delivery to Nauru and Manus Island. In this case the deliveries will also include guitars, ukuleles, bongos plus some unusual instruments like glockenspiels, tambourines and mouth organs. Delivery in this case will be expedited by Transfield Services, the managing agents of those two facilities.
Meanwhile a most unusual donation has come in: An Indonesian instrument called an Angklung was donated by a convent in Sydney. “I am absolutely fascinated by this huge bamboo instrument that has so many notes to it” said Philip Feinstein, principle of Music for Refugees. “Now we need to find an Indonesian family or group to give it to.”
The Music for Refugees organisation collects and distributes music instruments for refugees both in and out of detention. We should all bear in mind that these people have come from troubled areas and are seeking a better life in Australia. “And seeing that many Australians come from a refugee background, we should be able understand their plight” commented Philip. Members of the public are encouraged to donate instruments to any of the many drop-off points listed on the website www.musicforrefugees.org
There is also a Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Music-for-Refugees/1500789130197574