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Voices of Peace


The Voices of Peace project aims to empower recently arrived and settled refugees from Assyrian Chaldean background to establish a Women's Choir. Singing together can heal and builds connection and reduces the pain of dislocation and loss from the persecution they have suffered.Singing can strengthen connection to each other and promotes the Chaldean language. This project is supported by a partnership between Community Music Victoria and Foundation House achieved through leadership training,and providing and developing resources and opportunities for wider social connection. Grants for the project have been awarded by the Victorian Women's Trust through the Essie Burbridge sub-fund, and by Hume City Council.

Key Benefits

We held a hugely successful pilot sessions with the group in October 2016, and we fully expect a whole range of benefits to directly impact the 60 members of the women’s group who live in the City Of Hume and the City of Whittlesea. It will also have positive impact on the 8,000 Assyrians living in greater Melbourne:

  • Healing, empowerment and group connection through self-expression and the creative group process.
  • Creating leadership skills within the community, by enabling women to step into the role of singing group leader ensuring the group's self-sustainability.
  • Establishing a model for increasing the participation of refugee communities in the cultural scene of Victoria as an avenue to greater social inclusion and affirming their contributions to the cultural life of Victoria and Australia.
  • Building confidence within the group through public performances at Concerts such as Harmony Day and Peace Day
  • Connecting the Assyrian community with the wider multicultural community of Melbourne through participation in public performances, festivals and community events.

Key Activities

The project will run for 16 weeks during which experienced community singing leader Sarah Mandie will conduct the following activities:

  • Singing leader training and ongoing mentoring relationship with CMVic as the leaders establish themselves.
  • Establish a repertoire of traditional Assyrian songs to share at public events and at private group events. Record these.
  • Create traditional style costumes to be worn at public events.
  • Write a theme song /anthem for the group in conjunction with the participants. The song will be an expression of their identity, experience and hopes in the context of our society.

 Your support: To achieve these great outcomes in the Assyrian community we are seeking $2000 in financial support in addition to the $6500 in grants from VWT and Hume City.

Foundation House provides services to advance the health, well-being and human rights of people of refugee backgrounds in Victoria who have experienced torture or other traumatic events in their country of origin or while fleeing those countries.

 Contact: Sarah Mandie ; John Howard