“Nai” means “the sound of the flute” in Arabic. It was suggested by Shireen Abu-Khader, a renowned Arabic choral conductor, as the name of the choir. The inspiration comes from the poetry of Gibran Khalil Gibran: “Give me the flute, and sing / immortality lies in a song / and even after we've perished / the flute continues to lament”. The name expresses the suffering of refugees, their resilience, and the transformative power of music. It reflects well the vision of Nai Children's Choir - a space for healing, learning and rejoicing.
Taking an arts-based youth empowerment approach, the Nai Children’s Choir (also known as "Nai Syrian Children's Choir" formerly and "Nai Kids" affectionately) provides a unique space for refugee children to learn to express their grief, yearning, love and hope through singing in their mother tongue and in the official languages of their new home. Founded by CultureLink, a Toronto charity, the choir gives newcomer refugee children and youth FREE weekly music education. The organization also offers English classes and other settlement services to parents of Choir members to help them integrate.
Nai's mission is to empower refugee children through music and develop them to be future leaders of our diverse society. Through fun and educational music activities in English, French and Arabic, we help Nai children to improve their new languages and integrate in Canadian multicultural environment, and at the same time to maintain a strong tie with their own heritage and culture. Through tailored choral music and other forms of art education, Nai children gain confidence, develop resilience, hone life skills, build new friendships and find a sense of belonging.