The Mount Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency (MECA) is an independent, community-based, multicultural organisation dedicated to providing a dynamic environment for working collaboratively with refugee and migrant communities to identify strengths, create innovative solutions and support implementation through action.
It was no surprise when Daniel Gobena, one of the Ethiopian leaders at MECA, made contact with Music for Refugees with a request for music instruments. “We are currently looking at creating a sound studio for our clients to make music in” he said.
And so began a new collaboration of organisations dedicated to helping refugees to use sound expression to make melodious harmony.
On Monday 22 December, on one of Sydney’s hottest days on record, a plethora of music instruments was delivered to MECA by Music for Refugees. Among the instruments was a keyboard and stool, two electric guitars with appropriate amplifiers, a xylophone and percussion instruments.
With affiliations to SSI and SydWest, it was no surprise of the new connection to Music for Refugees. “We knew that they supplied instruments to other organisations, so for us contacting them was a natural progression,” Daniel said.
At a MECA round-table conference involving Philip Feinstein of Music for Refugees, Daniel Gobena, Lydia Befekadu, Jes Alexander-Rowe, Afework Assefa and Nahum Getachew, the discussion included how the studio would be built, as well as the various needs to bring it to fruition.
It is hoped that members of the public will donate an audio-interface plus microphones, cables, a computer and of course, a sound mixer. Contact for MECA is (02) 9625-9300.
The subject of soundproofing created many ideas including a cheap method of using egg-containers. A more serious, albeit expensive, method is probably best suited. There was unanimous agreement to that.
Towards the end of the meeting Philip offered to introduce another personal growth modality to MECA clients: Theatre Sports. “We teach Theatre Games to a variety of groups as both a fun exercise and a means of building self-confidence and improving English” he explained. The full group was then introduced to a few sample games with lots of laughter filling the air.
“This is certainly something that we can introduce to Chifley High School,” said Jes Alexander-Rowe, Youth and Community Development Officer.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to Philip as he ventured out to the hot air temperature once again.