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 60 countries all over the world.
Sounds of Palestine started in 2012 in the kindergartens of two refugee camps in Bethlehem. Meanwhile nearly 180 children (age 4-5) receive weekly music workshops. These workshops take place in four kindergartens in al-Azzeh and Dheisheh refugee camp, and in the isolated villages Dar Salah and al-Khas.
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. In 2016, there are around 100 children following the program two to three times a week. Here, they participate in orchestra, dabke (Palestinian folklore dance), choir, music theory and instrument group lessons such as Arabic percussion, violin, cello, double bass 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 provides extra support for children with special needs such as hyperactivity , autism, and speech problems.
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 of individual children and whole orchestras in meetings with other children and youth orchestras.