About

Sounds of Palestine

Sounds of Palestine is a community music project in Bethlehem. The program is inspired by the Venezuelan music school movement “El Sistema”. It uses music education as a medium to achieve long term social change for the children and families involved.

Sounds of Palestine started in 2012 in the kindergartens of two refugee camps in Bethlehem. Meanwhile nearly 100 children (age 4-5) receive weekly music workshops. These workshops take place in two kindergartens in al-Azzeh and Dheisheh refugee camp.
When the children graduate from kindergarten and become first graders in primary school, they are invited to join our after-school music program, establishing a natural growth of the program. Currently, there are around 160 children (grade 1-10) following the program two times a week. Here, they participate in orchestra, choir, music theory and instrument group lessons such as Arabic percussion, violin, cello, double bass, flute and clarinet.

Sounds of Palestine achieves sustainability through the continuous and long-term support of the children: it is planned to continue enrolling new first graders in the program, while the older children can remain in the program until the end of their school years.

Sounds of Palestine works to provide a safe space for the children to express themselves in a nonverbal way and to release their stress. The project is financed by donations and participation is free of charge for the children.

Vision/mission

Sounds of Palestine:

  • offers the children a safe environment where they are welcomed, respected and supported.
  • is a place where cooperation and teamwork can be experienced and practiced.
  • offers the children a structured day with meaningful and social leisure activities.

By engaging with music and learning an instrument:

  • the children get a medium to express them in a constructive manner.
  • the self-confidence, the stamina, and the ability to concentrate and cooperate can be improved.

Long-term goals include:

  • Training of students as music teachers who later can work at the music school center.