“At first people would ask me, “What is that bamboo stick that you carry around? It was actually a nay (flute), the instrument I am learning to play.” This is how Ahmad al-Aswad from Burj el-Barajneh camp describes his journey from a music student starting at the age of eight to becoming a music teacher today, as well as being a fourth-year student at the conservatory.
“Music has helped me fill in my free time, and quickly it became a means to relax and escape my reality,” he says. And despite having a university degree in engineering, he was unable to find work in this field given the difficult conditions placed on Palestinian refugees in the Lebanese labor market. By chance, he started to give private lessons as well as a volunteer teaching in the same program he participated in many years ago. “Recently, I received a scholarship to study music in Berkeley, steering my future towards what I love doing. I hope to become a musical composer one day,” he says.
Today, Ahmad is a member of the Al Kamandjati band. He is one of many students who developed their musical skills in the Beit Atfal Assumoud, which is supported by Taawon’s music program.