Positive Soul

The Joss Stone Foundation

Refugee camp project in Djibouti

As part of her total world tour, last year Joss visited two refugees camps in the small country of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. There are over 37,000 people currently seeking safety in Djibouti, fleeing war and violence in their home countries of Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. With scarce food and water and few resources, living conditions in these camps are unpleasant and desolate.

During her visit, Joss was struck by the desperate need for facilities and equipment and was keen to find a way to provide some support. Following her trip, some of the musicians and young people she’d spent time with asked whether we would be able to help them access some musical instruments to use in their community spaces – and we decided to go for it..

With the help of many wonderful people in England, the team at the Joss Stone Foundation was able to gather over 250 instruments as a gift to our friends in Djibouti. The instruments are now kept in community spaces within the two camps, for everyone to use. A few of us on the team were able to visit Markazi and Ali Addeh refugee camps to distribute the instruments and to meet some of the incredible people who are rebuilding their lives there. The experience was a surreal one; we met so many people who were very familiar and reminded us of our friends at home – but we’re dealing with life circumstances outside of anything we could imagine.

Distributing the instruments was a joyful thing; involving a lot of music, and singing and dancing!
It was our great privilege to hear some of the stories of people we met in the camps, and amazing to see the enjoyment and laughter that music brought amidst great struggle, frustration and sometimes hopelessness. Yet still, these guys had incredible energy and an ability to find joy in the moment, and it was absolutely infectious. We had a brilliant time with them and were humbled by the awesome hospitality we received during our brief stay.

We hope you enjoy this short film, a story of life in the camps and of what music and creativity means to them as they rebuild their lives.