Asha Parkinson


Why I started this:

“I wondered desperately what I could do. What was happening in war zones horrified me but I was only a teenager and a musician. I raised money for charities working in Syria and elsewhere through concerts and collections and all sorts. Then when I was 14, it came to me. What if we could truly sing for peace? What if children around the world could be inspired to do just that with us?

What if, in the process, we could promote the deep values of tolerance and respect at the heart of all religious teachings? What if we could make something together that could use the positive power of music and words to bring children closer in mutual understanding?

That’s how Voices Beyond Divisions began. When I started at Purcell School of Music at the age of 16, I found a team of fellow young musicians who shared my wish to make a simple but potentially important kind of contribution – and staff who’d help us do that too.

We were so lucky to have found such creative and sympathetic teachers and children from Iqra Isalamic School in Slough, Akiva Jewish School in Finchley and St Peter’s RC Primary School in Woolwich. Working with them over all those weeks, I think the children taught me a lot more than I could ever teach them!”