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World Monuments Fund Britain’s Syrian Stonemasonry Training Programme

  • Imperial War Musuem, The Park View Room Lambest Road SE1 6HZ (map)

World Monuments Fund Britain has been working in Mafraq, Jordan - twelve miles from the Syrian border - since September 2017 to provide a group of Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens with traditional stonemasonry skills to become the craftspeople and conservators of the future. Backed by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund, a £30million initiative to protect heritage in conflict affected areas of the Middle East and North Africa, the aim of the training centre is to take three problems and turn them into a solution. The problems: how to conserve extraordinary monumental heritage in Syria, such as the ancient souk of Aleppo. The issue is exacerbated by the depletion of skilled craftspeople therefore, once the dust of conflict settles, there will be few locally to carry out restoration work. At the same time thousands sit in refugee camps, lives on hold, seeking hope. The solution: Train refugees to become the craftspeople. Give them a skill – in this case stone-masonry – to help restore their nation’s heritage. Join WMF Britain’s Executive Director, John Darlington to hear more about this remarkable programme.