Earlier this year Marcia Banasko and Michaël Kormla Akortia got engaged, quit their jobs, and packed their lives into a camping van to spend the next two years travelling the world. However, this isn’t your average story of a young couple ditching their day jobs and possessions to satiate their wanderlust and animate their Instagram pages (no judgment though, I certainly wouldn’t say no to being on a beach in Thailand right now). The aim of their travels is to bring humanitarian aid to refugees and marginalised individuals in the traditional form of essential supplies but also using music. Through their project “One Love Soul” Marcia, a performer who has also worked for several years for an international women’s rights NGO, and Michaël, a musician, youth worker and snowboard teacher, will employ music and dance to bring “love, therapy, and healing” to those most in need.
The couple lauds the benefits of music therapy as a medium for communication and support: “[It] transcends language barriers and presents a non-verbal way for refugees to communicate with family, friends, and the therapist . . . [it provides] a non-threatening support for traumatised refugees. In addition to the music they will be bringing supplies such as food, blankets, clothes, shoes, school materials, books, etc. to those who are most in need – charities, children homes, homeless shelters, refugee centres etc. “We are contacting different organisations on our route to identify what support we can offer depending on the needs of the people. We believe that music has a healing energy that can move people and ease stress in times of suffering. We are very excited about our first workshops with Syrian Refugees in Istanbul,” stated Marcia Banasko.
Through their interactions with others during their travels, Marcia and Michaël also hope to challenge racist attitudes. “Travelling as two mixed race people we know that things won’t be easy” – Marica is British, Ghanaian and Jamaican and Michaël is French, Ghanaian and Armenian. Nonetheless they seek to engage in conversation with people in each of the cities and communities they visit and conduct an oral questionnaire of five short questions, recording the results so as to explore the misconceptions associated with race. By doing this they hope to illustrate the differences but especially the similarities amongst each culture so as to challenge these misconceptions. The two hope that their warm presence and smiles, and their creativity and performances will aid in melting any barriers.
Travelling across Eastern Europe into the Middle East and through Asia, down to Australia and across the Americas, they will document their journey and share the stories/life histories of the people they meet. “We hope that by sharing the realities that people face it will bring about a deeper understanding of the struggle and joys of humanity and also contribute towards positive change in the lives of the people we meet,” Michaël Kormla Akortia shared. A website will soon be up and running where we will be able to find their daily experiences, which they will record through blogging, photography, and film.
To be part of the One Love Soul project visit the Indiegogo page