A story about resonance. How the initial intention by which something starts, radiates throughout the process that unfolds…
On the 20th of November 2014 a charity concert was organized by the Foundation Worldwide for Children in the Saint Bavo church in the heart of the city of Haarlem to commemorate 25 years that have past since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A convention that has not yet been signed by the U.S., among other countries although there are many reasons to protect the rights of children. One of the most basic rights of any child in the world is the right to have a name.
During the concert I introduced the audience to Amira and Sarah two sparkling Syrian girls whom I have met in Jordan. They have fled their home, their family, their village and their country to escape violence and war. Hoping to find a future that enables them to grow and learn in a safe place. They are cherishing the light of the sunset that symbolically is created when we reach out to each other to connect or support. In Arabic you could call this: ‘Nour ala Nour’, Light upon Light. The giver and the receiver of light becoming one.
Many illustrious and local musicians voluntary took part in the charity concert, both children and professionals. This resulted not only in a colorful mosaic of sounds and musical styles from East to West. But also raised awareness and funding for different projects to support children in the world, amongst which Solar for Syria: an initiative that helps to bring light and power into the Syrian darkness in a very literal way. Two hundred solar lamps were raised to enlighten the lives of two hundred Syrian families who live in tents and shelters along the Syrian border in Jordan. These lights are radiating out in bigger circles just like a pebble that is thrown in the water.
In search of ways to actually transport the lights to Jordan and practically distribute without added costs, an opportunity presented itself. Fifty Jordanian secondary school children were traveling to the Netherlands and they offered their support to bring the lights to Jordan. Each one of the children is taking four lights into their suitcases.
During a meeting last week I handed them the lights and shared the story of this modern Aladdin lamp: a solar light able to recharge itself through direct sunlight, giving light and power to an empty mobile phone. The children were thrilled: ‘My father is working with the refugees in Jordan, I will tell him about this wonderlamp.’ Also their spirit struck me as one that resonated a clear sense of community, wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
The children explained to me that they were taking part into the yearly Model UN conference in The Hague. As a keynote speaker during several of these UN-Model conferences in the Netherlands I already had witnessed first hand the important lessons that participants were taking home. Often they had to represent a point of view that didn’t reflect or even directly opposed their personal opinion. Yet miraculously the imitation of the UN model, taught the children to leave their personal opinions aside, inspired them to gather facts and background information, gave them inside in how to build up a good argument and how to lobby to gain support for their delegation. Are these the skills we need to enable a more peaceful world? Empathy, sympathy and understanding for ‘the other’. Of they went, ambassadors of light, spreading more light into the Middle-East.