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Executive Summary
Shifaa; Peace Drum Circle Project,
El Cajon, California

For over seven years, MAP has created the first successful drum circle program for women’s empowerment, cultural sharing and healing, serving refugees living in El Cajon, CA.  This project served refugee women from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan, including Chaldean Christians and Muslims. 

“The United States is our second country now so we want to be happy here!” – Leila from Iraq

“Being here today has revived me! I Feel alive again! The drumming just… it revives you!” – Nadya from Syria

“The more involved with music a child becomes the less likely to ever engage in criminal behavior!” Kristina Sophia quoting scientific study.

Here are the highlights of this project: 

  • REMO Drum Company provided frame drums at wholesale cost, saving over 60%.
  • The facilitators of this project were all trained in HealthRHYTHMS™, an evidence-based drum circle protocol, giving it credibility and scientific foundation.
  • In addition, MAP brings over 15 years’ experience in numerous countries using music for peace making in war zones and refugee programs.
  • The El Cajon drumming group performed for World Refugee Day, 2018 in San Diego, sponsored by The World Music Center, featured in the San Diego Union Tribune.
  • The UN Compendium of Peace as a Global Resource, 2011, featured the work of two of our ambassadors; author and music therapist Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC and Dr. Craig Woodson, PhD, ethnomusicologist, using this same drum circle model.

Data on our pilot programs has shown improvement in community bonding, sense of belonging, level of trauma, and coping skills.  These are powerful results, given the language barriers to communication. 

Sing Drum Dance

When refugees can affirm the values and beauties of their own culture they can begin to heal on a deep level

Kristina Sophia
Dilkhwaz Ahmad
Christine Stevens and Iraqi refugee women in El Cajon, CA
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