This year COINS Foundation provided a substantial contribution to a very unique charity project, Voices Around The World. Invited to take part in the project, were Dubai based and COINS Foundation supported school the Widad Center. The project, which connects schools from across the globe to learn and perform the lyrics of the same song and perform them online, uniting them to create a record breaking online children’s song recording. The project however has a much wider aim, to bring students together from across the world and spread the global message that we can learn a lot from young people, there voices are important and need to be listened to.

This year saw over 5,000 students, over 1,400 schools and 48 countries come together, each performing their version of ’Listen To Us’ this year’s chosen song. The project invites schools from every continent to take part, culminating in the singles release on the 6th July. Established by former music teacher and international school principal, Laurie Lewin, in collaboration with singer/songwriter Howard Jones, the Voices Around The World project, which is in its third year attracts a huge range of schools from Israel, Cambodia, Iceland, Brazil and Turkey. Laurie has travelled to many schools to support them with their rehearsals and recordings of ‘Listen To Us’ and to encourage students to think about the words they are singing.

Young people really want to make a difference, they want to work together for change. Many who we’ve spoken to, from all around the world, show they’re absolutely passionate about the meaning behind the words of the song. You can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices while they’re singing. Whatever their age, participating in such a project has a huge impact on them.

Laurie Lewin - Founder of Voices Around The World

Laurie was inspired to find a school in Syria to participate in this year’s project thanks to the suggestion of a student who took part in 2014.

During last year’s project, I visited an international school in Dubai to help the students with their recording, I spoke to a young girl there who’d been practising the song with me. She said ‘I’d like to be singing this with my friends back in Syria.’ She was a Syrian refugee. Thanks to her wish, this year we are thrilled to have children from Al-Shams (The Sun) School, Sweida city, Syria joining us on the recording.

Laurie Lewin

For students around the world, sharing in the recording of a song with a common goal is an incredibly powerful experience. It is uniting children of so many cultures with one important message – that working together, you can make a difference.

Kristina Bourner - Music teacher at St Christopher’s School in Bahrain

In San Paulo Brazil, a student who took part in the recording said “The project is good because it involves young people from all kinds of backgrounds. We are all singing the same song and we are all linked by the music.”

‘Listen To Us’ is available to download from iTunes and from the Voices Around The World website, where you will also be able to find out how to participate in the 2016 project. You can also see feedback from some of this year’s participating schools on the Voices Around The World Facebook page. All proceeds from the sales of the CD plus a DVD will this year go to support schools in Tanzania that are in need of basic learning resources.

Other sponsors that have helped to raise awareness of the project this year include Monjasa Foundation, Bandzoogle, The Charter for Compassion and The International Primary Curriculum. To find out more about the Widad Center: http://www.widadlearning.com or ’Voices Around The World’ charity project please click here: http://www.voicesaround.com