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Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative: Morocco

March 5, 2009

Video of presentations and screenings of the Lollipops Crown Morocco and the work of the street children and orphans:

 

Our Project: if you want to help, email me to be able to send $10.00 towards this project. Anything you send will help. Please email the founders at lollipopscrown@gmail.com

Lollipops one page

Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative: Morocco

I. Summation

What?

A multi-dimensional pilot youth arts/music education program with the aim of empowering children, (specifically those children identified as street children and orphans), and encouraging them to pursue creative outlets to express and record their unique experiences and learn new skills. Music and art can be the avenue of not only inspiring the youth, but art can further be a bridge of understanding between America and the Arab world. Our workshops will combine education in film animation, music, photography, painting, and dance workshops. The outcome of our workshops will be a number of short-animation films produced and scored by the children. At the conclusion of the workshops, the art and music produced by the children (photos, paintings, and the short animation film) will be on display and sold at a series of events for the associations of DARNA and Dar Lekbira and Al Wafa.

Where?

The workshops will focus on two children’s centers and we will engage in smaller workshops at the Rabat Children’s Hospital. The two centers of focus, (which we already are working with) are:

1) Association Dar Lekbira in Kenitra, Morocco: http://www.darlekbira.org/

2) DARNA Association in Tangier, Morocco: http://www.darnamaroc.org/contact.html

3) Al Wafa Center for children in Bir Chifa, Morocco.

Why?

The children of today are the movers of our world tomorrow. But what of the tens of thousands of children who are left alienated and who are exploited on the streets? These children also determine the future health of our society just the same as the privileged youth of society. The experiences of the orphans and disadvantaged youth of Morocco can only be disseminated and understood if they are recorded. From this process, society as a whole may gain greater understanding of the needs of such youth and how to better enhance their lives and protect them and thus better society as a whole. We believe that if we strengthen the music and arts programs for the street children and orphans of Morocco, then the children may grow spiritually and creatively by having the forum to peacefully express their hopes, dreams, fears, and emotions through the arts and music.

Secondly, this project involves the partnership between American artists and Moroccan artists, which in itself symbolizes to the children and to our greater world the need for America and the Arab world to communicate through art as a means towards better understanding one another.

To view videos of our workshops with the children visit our channel here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/dangervillemaroc

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Strategy

We have successfully engaged in smaller workshops at both DARNA and Dar Lekbira and Al Wafa.  Each workshop will lasts two months and consist of a group of ten children from each center. At the end of each two month cycle, a new group of ten children will be incorporated into the workshops. Within the two month workshops we will introduce children to film animation using educational videos translated from French to Darija. Then we will have children develop their own story from which we will teach them how to shoot images and film their story. After filming, the children score their own music and record their own audio to compliment the images in the animated short film. The workshops will involve photography, painting, music, dance and film animation. After each workshop, we will screen the short film and the photos produced by the children at four main events across Morocco. DVDs of the short film will be sold and performances and exhibitions of the kids’ music and photography will be showcased. All proceeds from the events will go straight to the children’s centers.

We  based in Tangier near DARNA while also traveling twice a month to Kenitra to conduct our workshops with Dar Lekbira. Three days of the week will be spent at DARNA and three to four days of every other week will be spent at Dar Lekbira in conjunction with our workshops at DARNA.

The Artists?

Mohsin Mohi-Ud-Din: U.S Fulbright Scholar; Drummer for indie rock band Zerobridge, human rights activist and writer for the Huffington Post

Proposed Budget for June 2009-January 2010

**Please see attached budget spread sheet for detailed lay out of expenses.

The approximate budget is $4,000 USD, or, 40,000 DH. This budget includes all travel expenses, costs of art supplies film, cameras, instruments, and event expenses.

II. Lollipops Crown: Project Proposal In Depth

Our music/arts initiative seeks to develop a multi-dimensional pilot youth arts-music education program in order to inspire children, (predominantly those children identified as street children and orphans), to pursue creative outlets in expressing and recording their unique experiences of living within Morocco and the ever evolving world around them. The project in effect, shall contribute to the mutual understanding between American youth, Arab youth, and the greater Moroccan community through art and music as a common ground and tool for encouraging creativity and providing skills and opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.

In Moroccan society, music and art already have a rich place in Morocco’s unique history as exhibited within   cultural interactions and artistic exchange between Spain, France, and its African neighbors. However, many children are unable to study or even attempt to engage in artistic expression or study. In our interaction with Moroccans and Moroccan NGOs, they generally convey to us that if arts programs for children do exist, some are weak and underdeveloped. More often than not, there is disproportionate availability of these programs between the cities and rural areas.

Through our experiences in working with orphans and street children in India, South Africa, America, and Morocco we have learned that music and arts programs are generally rare in most Arab countries. We wish to capitalize on Morocco’s brilliant and colorful musical and artistic past by further developing a bold music and arts program for Moroccan street children and orphans in Tangier, Kenitra, and Rabat.

As professional artists ourselves, we have experienced first hand the spiritual benefits and educational effect music and art programs have on its students. Art and music have always been great levelers for encouraging ways of looking at the world as a whole, grounded in universal experiences rather than cultural differences. Being that there are over approximately 10,000-14,000 street children in Morocco, (5,000 in Casablanca alone) the target group for the arts therapy shall be street children and orphans who have suffered alienation, abuse, and exploitation. There are already brilliant and dedicated NGOs in Morocco, who with strong support from the government, are working in providing care for these children. However, in our discussions and experiences with NGOs, there is still more that can be done.

The experiences of the orphans and disadvantaged youth of Morocco can only be disseminated and understood if they are recorded. From this process, society as a whole may gain greater understanding of the needs of such youth and how to better enhance their lives and protect them. We believe that by strengthening music and arts initiatives at the children’s centers in Morocco; the children will grow spiritually and creatively by having the forum to peacefully express their hopes, dreams, fears, and emotions through the arts and music. We would like to encourage the orphans and street children of Morocco to feel that their experiences are worth recording, and to provide a forum where they will feel artistically confident, develop skills, and grow.

We seek to spend 2-3 months at two children’s centers across Morocco. Our project encompasses several elements. It seeks to develop a music and arts program for Moroccan youth from ages 8 to 16. The lessons will be audio-visual. One of the main outcomes of our workshop is to introduce the children to film-animation so that they may develop their own story, film it themselves, and write their own music and dialogue to the film. We shall introduce the children to the basic fundamentals of film-making and computer animation by screening educational videos about film animation and then encourage the kids to collectively agree on a story to film themselves. The children will be taught how to take the photos and film their story through using a video camera and digital camera. Once the contents are recorded, we will then work with the kids to add their own music and audio to the film. We have already successfully completed such a workshops with the Dar Lekbira Center in Kenitra and teh Darna Center in Tangier. As a result of our workshops, the kids have written and filmed 4 short stories so far and we have led  2 music workshops for over 100 village children for the U.S Embassy in Morocco. The results have been phenomenal and the kids take pride in writing, producing, and creating a film of their own. The workshops subtly teach the children about team-work, collaboration, patience, and creative expression. The films and photos and music will be screened at various events for Dar Lekbira and Darna.

Other workshops in our program will include actual playing in the form of drumming, and exposing the students to influential genres in international music, jazz and rock and roll as well as local Moroccan sounds. For example, in the drumming workshops, each child will have a drum and one child will be in the center of the drumming circle. The child in the center will create his /her own rhythm. The kids surrounding the center will then be asked to listen to the rhythm and play a single rhythm to compliment the rhythm of the child playing in the center. Thus, the kids are taught how to have their individual rhythm in harmony with the rhythm of the world around them. Thanks to volunteers from Promethean Spark, two professional dancers from America will arrive in Morocco to do a month’s worth of dance workshops within the arts initiative for those children interested in dance. There will also be painting exercises in which, for example, children will hear a music piece and relate their emotions and experiences to the paper and paint whatever comes to mind as they hear the song.

Also, we plan to expose the children to photography by bringing traditional film and digital cameras, enabling children to capture their lives and the world as they see it through the lens. For example, in a previous workshop with the children in Kenitra, we had taught the kids how to use our digital camera, and each child took turns filming the other expressing, through body language, what they felt emotionally before arriving to the center and after arriving to the center. The kids were encouraged to ask themselves tough questions and think of creative ways to express emotions which some of them otherwise have difficulty expressing through words.

At the end of each 2-3 month workshop, we will create and art exhibit/concert, thus showcasing the work that the children produce. The short films will be sold as DVDs at the events and the photos will be on exhibition. Money obtained from the events will be donated directly to the orphanages or children’s centers. Provided our collective obtains sufficient funding and sponsorship, at the end of each workshop, we hope to leave a certain amount of cameras, film, and art supplies with each center we work with so that the kids at each orphanage or center may continue with their artistic endeavors and self-expression.

We are currently engaged in multiple workshops with DARNA , a notable NGO in Tangiers which provides therapy and education and inspiration for alienated and neglected Moroccan children and refugees. We are also currently leading workshops with the children of the Dar Lekbira Association in Kenitra, whose staff work under limited resources yet still provide comprehensive care, education, and shelter for 40 children. Additionally we are doing smaller music workshops for Moroccan children in partnership with the US Embassy. We hope to observe the work of some of Morocco’s schools and NGOs and work with them to develop enhanced programs in which the children may nonviolently, yet, creatively express themselves and their stories through music and art. The overall goal is to open doors to creativity and expression for the children and enable them to develop art skills, develop confidence, critical analysis skills, and above all have fun.

UPDATES:

As of March 2010, Mohsin Mohi Ud Din successfully completed his film and music workshops with DARNA, AL WAFA, and AL WAFA, as well as the ASCMP drug clinic. Mohsin, under his initiative Lollipops Crown, completed 17 short films and stories all written, directed, and acted by the street children at each of the centers. Mohsin also recorded music with the drug addicts at the ASCMP clinic. The short films were screened to the whole community at the Cinema Rif theater in February 2010 with all the children presenting their films to the audience. In May 2010 Mohsin was invited to screen the films by the street children at the World Islamic Economic Forum in Malaysia and the United States Institute for Peace in Washington D.C. Mohsin is currently developing an exhibit of the Lollipops Crown initiative in New York and has been donating all proceeds from the project to the Al Wafa center.  Lollipops Crown still needs your help. Mohsin plans to implement the project for orphans in Kashmir in the summer of 2011. email lollipopscrown@gmail.com to help.

 


 


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8 Comments leave one →
  1. sophiaft permalink
    March 17, 2009 7:11 am

    http://www.orientalist-art-gallery.com
    more on orientalist and Moroccan art

  2. imane permalink
    March 31, 2009 12:15 pm

    Interesting project. Will the project be still active end of 2009?
    I might be looking for projects to fund in September 09… We should get in touch

    • shalimar1 permalink*
      March 30, 2010 6:15 pm

      Hello Imane,
      There has been much growth and development with my music and arts initiative with the street children and orphans in Morocco. We should connect and I can share with you the latest developments if you are interested. I just returned to New York City. Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Salam
      Mohsin

  3. Zineb Benslimane permalink
    March 16, 2010 10:07 pm

    Apparently, we share the same dream.
    It would be great if we could schedule a session on skype .
    I am currently enrolled at Oxford Brookes University and pursuing
    an Architecture degree. In parallel, I am working on the creation of
    Moroccan Youth Association (MYA) which seems to have parallel aspirations
    as Lollipops Crown. I grew up in Morocco in a more of less comfortable environment
    but have always believed it to be my duty to create some kind of sustainable organisation
    that can, precisely as u mentioned, empower the youth of morocco through the development of the
    various forms of arts. This might be the start of a special collaboration who knows?

    Zineb Benslimane
    MoroccanYouthAssociation@gmail.com

    • shalimar1 permalink*
      March 30, 2010 6:13 pm

      Salam Zineb,

      We def need to connect and collaborate. Thank you for your support and outreach. Lets figure something for the future. I did work the the Ministry of Youth of Morocco. Perhaps you and I could collaborate with them?

      Salams
      Mohsin

  4. Codie Barron permalink
    August 4, 2010 2:11 am

    Hello, I am currently doing a research project on morocco and arts education in the schools. I also need to research a arts organization and stumbled across this one. I was wondering if you had some time in the next day or two to answer some questions for my paper.
    I would be very grateful.
    hope to hear from you soon.
    codie barron

Trackbacks

  1. Beauty and the Feast » Blog Archive » Snippets from The Underground Runway Show
  2. The Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative: Empowering Disadvantaged Youth in Morocco, By Mohsin Mohi-Ud-Din, 2009-2010, Morocco |

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