In 1999, Roxana Vilk, Anton Pesikan and I were approached by the European Community Humanitarian Office Disaster Response Unit in Istanbul to establish a music, drama and creative arts project in Izmit.
On August 19th 1999 an earthquake of 6.7 on the richter scale hit Izmit. While thousands of tents were set up to house those homeless many traumatised children had little formalised activities to recover and rehabilitate from the trauma of losing everything. Even those whose flats still stood were too scared to return and moral was low in the tent camps. Enfant du Monde, a Paris based NGO, were active on the ground and we teamed up with their local staff and logistics.
After the success of 3 years full time experience in Bosnia and Georgia, we implemented a music, mask and art training programme with local psychologists and musicians. Another intensely creative and friendship forming experience led to some wonderful workshops over 6 months. Highlights included music and mask workshops with children and west-african drum and dance workshops leading to performances for the tent communities...
But perhaps the best outcome beyond the immediate interactions and regular workshops was the fact that the local community continued to engage in artistic and musical sessions together beyond our presence in Turkey.