Sounds of Palestine
Sounds of Palestine is a community music project inspired and based on the concept of El Sistema in Venezuela. This concept uses music education as a medium to achieve long term social change for the children and families involved and has proven to be successful in more than 50 countries all over the world.
Sounds of Palestine started in 2012 in the kindergartens of two refugee camps in Bethlehem. Meanwhile nearly 90 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 170 children (grade 1-9) 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.
The program plans to continue to expand every year, accepting new children in the kindergartens and continuing with the children graduating to the higher grades in school.
Sounds of Palestine works to provide a safe space for the children to express themselves in a nonverbal and nonthreatening way and to release their stress. The project is financed by donations and participation is free of charge for the children.
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 centers.
- Participation in meetings with other children and youth orchestras.