When Aboud fled Syria, he took with him the most important item he owned. His violin.

His family left behind their home in Aleppo and moved north, but escalating violence eventually drove them out of the country to neighbouring Lebanon.
It was here that Aboud and his family found safety in a two-bedroom room in a monastery in the mountains, but their lives had been completely turned upside down. For almost two years, Aboud and his two brothers were unable to go to school.
Aboud plays his 19th century violin at his home in Sydney. © UNICEFAustralia/Ziaziaris

Despite the challenges, the 15-year-old decided to make the most of his situation. Having only had a few violin lessons back in Syria, Aboud learnt how to play the instrument by watching videos on YouTube. 

“Music helped me a lot in Lebanon,” Aboud says.
“It was like my own private time where I could just leave everything else and just play.

“I felt like I could express my feelings through
the violin. It was a way for me to express
what I was going through and feeling.”

It was a chance encounter with a BBC journalist, who was also a violinist, that landed Aboud his first proper violin. Upon returning to London, the journalist spoke to a headmaster at Oxford University who loaned Aboud an incredible 19th century violin.

“About three months after she left Lebanon, I got the violin. It was the best moment of my life. It was so much better than my old violin,” Aboud says.
“I didn’t know it was happening. I was so shocked and played it straight away.”
Fast forward a year and Aboud is now making a name for himself as a talented young violinist in Sydney, Australia.
Just a few months after his family moved to Sydney, Aboud scored a scholarship with the prestigious Sydney Youth Orchestra and Western Sydney Orchestra where he regularly performs and works alongside other gifted musicians.
“I have had the chance to meet musicians like me who understand how I feel about music and we have the same passion,” Aboud says.
Aboud playing violin at the Cook For Syria dinner held at Nomad in Surry Hills, Sydney. © Nikki To

The self-taught violinist’s journey from Aleppo to Sydney has taught him one thing. Not to lose hope.
“I know from my experience; Syrian children are going through really harsh experiences. Children in Lebanon or Jordan wherever they are, waiting for their visa, they don’t get the opportunity for a good education or health services,” he says.
“Organisations like UNICEF can really help these children to continue their lives and help them through their future. I ask people to have a greater understanding of what children are going through and facing. And for the children, I tell them: don’t lose hope.”

“I know from my experience; Syrian children
are going through really harsh experiences.”
Aboud performed at the Cook For Syria dinner on August 12 to help raise money to support the more than 8.4 million children needing emergency aid in Syria.

These children have lost their homes and all that is familiar to them. UNICEF delivers emergency supplies, protection, learning facilities and support to millions of children caught in the line of fire and living on the move as refugees.
Find out more about the Cook For Syria initiative and how you can get involved.

© UNICEF/UN0309707/Watad
Syria Syria

Get involved with #CookForSyria

We’re encouraging everyone in Australia
to open their hearts and put on their
aprons to cook and raise money for
UNICEF’s Syria Crisis Appeal.