"To everyone who will never get a chance to tell their story and in memory of the children of Syria, I want to be able to say I tried." ~ Emma Abdullah
One World Actors Center (OWAC) held an original performance of teenage author Emma Abdulla's book 'The Blue Box', in support of 'Children of Syria', a relief fund for children caught up in the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Held under the patronage of Sheikha Paula Al-Sabah, at her palatial home Dar Noor on the evening of 3 November, the event was graced by the presence of dignitaries, including the American Ambassador to Kuwait H.E. Douglas Silliman and his wife, President of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, Dr. Hilal Mussaed Al Sayer, as well as accomplished pianist Harriet Petherick Bushman.
Directed by OWAC Founder and Director Alison Shan Price, 'The Blue Box' was brilliantly performed by OWAC actors, singers and members of One World Youth, with tickets to the one-night only performance sold out in a matter of hours.
Seven superbly talented and confident kids, supported by experienced adult actors did full justice to this overwhelmingly powerful book, which recounts through poems and stories Emma's experiences in Syria since the age of 12.
During her years living in Syria, Emma began penning her experiences and she continued, in her words, "building up" on these thoughts and keeping them in a blue box.
"My stories were sad sometimes but they were real. I imagined that was what my box would want. A real story. A story it could relate to. I imagined my box would not mind pain because it was true," she wrote in her book.
The Blue Box tries to raise awareness about the tragic situation in Syria. Its stories are of people with different points of view, from different walks of life in different countries and places. Each character, one by one, tells a story; one on domestic violence, the other about an autistic child, but mainly about the crisis.
Now, a self-published book, The Blue Box has traveled across various countries and has so far raised funds of over $60,000 for the cause of Syrian children.
"We have had different fund-raising events through book-selling and book-signing in the United States, mainly in Texas, and Kuwait. But this is the first time that we have had a performance of The Blue Box," exclaimed Emma.
"I never thought the book would take this dimension. When I wrote it, at first, I just wanted to raise a bit of awareness, but I never thought it would become this big," she added.
The Blue Box was on sale at Dar Noor, and proceeds of the 400 sold-out books went fully to the 'Children of Syria' fund. Photographer Fadi Abdulnour's photo exhibit titled 'Mother of Martha', conveying a Syrian mother's pain upon losing her young son, also helped support the worthwhile cause.
Being a patron of art and having been in Kuwait since 40 years, Sheikha Paula has an outstanding collection of art, including the Syrian Room, in her palatial home.
"Sheikha Paula has made sure that the funding pipeline she has organized will ensure the funds go absolutely to the proper place and help children who are trapped," said DeAnne Davis from OWAC.
More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than four million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict, most of them women and children. It is one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history. There are 5.6 million children living in dire situations – poverty, displacement and caught in the lines of fire – inside Syria, and two million children of Syria now live as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and other countries in North Africa.
- Ghazal Praveen