Sting donates Swedish music prize money to refugees

The British rock icon has donated his nearly half a million dirham prize to the Swedish refugee settlement organisation Songlines

British singer Sting is supporting Swedish organization Songlines to help refugees through music. Raul Sanchidrian / EPA
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British rock star Sting has donated the prize money from a prestigious Swedish music award to a non-profit project which helps young refugees in Sweden integrate through music.

Known for promoting human rights through his work, the 65-year-old singer and former frontman of The Police, as well US jazz star Wayne Shorter, won the 2017 Swedish Polar Music Prize back in February, which awards each laureate one million kronor (Dh435,000).

"I was deeply honoured to receive this year's Swedish Polar Music Prize and now, I am delighted to donate the prize money to the Swedish youth initiative Songlines," Sting said in a statement released on the project's website.

"Music can help build bridges and this project highlights the vital role that music can play in providing young refugees the opportunity to connect with a new society," he added.

The Songlines project involves young asylum seekers, mostly from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Syria, who have fled war and now stay at refugee shelters in Sweden. The project says it offers them musical activities to help them settle into society.

"Music is a fantastic tool for integration. Through music, new friendships are formed and language skills are developed," Julia Sandwall, national coordinator for Songlines, said in the statement.

The project will spend the prize money on organising music camps, arranging concerts and buying musical instruments for the young refugees.

Sting won international recognition with The Police, which released its hit song Roxanne in 1979 and Don't Stand So Close To Me the following year.

The Polar Music Prize honours two laureates every year to "celebrate music in all its various forms" and "to break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music."