War Child and ESNS connect in the Power of Music for Ukrainian refugee children


ESNS, Europe's largest showcase festival for emerging European artists, is once again collaborating with War Child in the upcoming edition. The two parties find each other in their strong belief in the connecting power of music. ESNS therefore is thrilled to offer War Child a platform to reach a wide audience with their message.

Katie Koss in Moldova for War Child

At the request of ESNS, War Child asked Groningen singer Katie Koss, part of Noorderslag's lineup, to be its ambassador. War Child travelled with her to Moldova, to use her music to make a small difference for refugee Ukrainian children. During ESNS, Katie Koss and director of War Child Netherlands Ernst Suur will join a special War Child session at the Forum. The theme of this session is 'The Power of Music' (Dutch spoken) and will take place on Saturday, January 21 at 1 p.m. in the Groninger Forum. The session is free to attend.

In Ukraine, more than 400 children have already died from the violence of war, nearly 300 are missing and more than 800 are injured. War Child helps, inside and outside Ukraine's borders, where it can. But the aid organization does not do that alone. ESNS linked War Child to singer Katie Koss from Groningen. She has Ukrainian parents, and the fate of those children is close to her heart. Together with her guitarist, she was on the road with War Child in November in Moldova, where many refugee Ukrainian children currently reside. Katie Koss is committed to using her music to make a small difference for refugee Ukrainian children. During the War Child session at the Forum, she tells host Patrick Lodiers all about the journey she made. Ernst Suur, director of War Child Netherlands, talks about the support his organization provides. "In music, children start dreaming again," Suur said. And that precisely Katie Koss traveled to Moldova with War Child "completes the story" for Suur. In addition to a performance by Katie Koss, city poet Myron Hamming will read from his own work.

"For me, being an artist is about my drive for freedom, my drive for self-development," says Katie Koss. The singer previously committed to Giro 555 and now connects with War Child for Ukraine. "My parents are from Ukraine, so logically this is something close to my heart. When I have the opportunity to think about my future, my dreams and development, I also feel it's a bit like my calling to make sure I can give children that same opportunity."

So when War Child asked Katie Koss to join them in Moldova, she didn't have to hesitate for a moment: "The connection is there both for me as an artist, and for me as a person. This just had to happen."

War Child tries to help children give what they are going through as much of a place as possible. "Invisible scars," Suur calls it. "We make sure that children can process fear, give a place to grief, talk to each other and thus find out that they are not alone in the misery they are going through. They won't forget, but they will be able to be a child and become healthy young adults." In Moldova, Katie made music with refugee children. "I noticed that they got excited about the fact that we started dancing, started jumping," Katie says. According to Suur, this is very important for children who are in such a difficult situation in a refugee camp. "I think we underestimate how important it is for children to participate in normal things," Suur said. "Just being able to be 'normal' again in that chaos of a war."