We are working on multiple projects to use music as a tool for healing and connecting people. We are currently accepting donations to help support such projects. We invite anyone looking to make a difference in the world to join us on our mission of using music as a tool for healing, hope and unity.
Child Soldiers: Free and Healing
Congolese children were abducted from their homes, held prisoner and forced to become soldiers and commit atrocities under the orders of Mai Mai rebels. They were recently freed from the war zone and brought to refugee camps in Uganda.
With the support of Musical Ambassadors of Peace, Abaho Gift Conrad and his team organize events which help the children to remember their traditional songs, dances and native cultural heritage. In addition, they give them support, free counseling with trauma healing, language sessions and career guidance. As Abaho says, “We are helping them to feel human once again.”
Resolving Inter-Tribal Conflicts
With the support of Musical Ambassadors of Peace, Abaho organizes large events of refugees presenting indigenous music, dance and song, restoring hope and peace among different refugee groups. These groups include Somali, Congolese, Eritrean, Burundians and Sudanese. These events help to build long-term relationships between the different refugee communities, and help to foster a feeling of unity among groups traditionally at war with each other.
Our musical ambassadors in Gaza are currently doing weekly sessions at their local UNRWA schools, UN sponsored schools specifically for Palestinian refugee children.
In these sessions, children have an opportunity to celebrate their own culture by practicing the singing and drumming of favorite traditional songs. They are also learning the fundamentals of music, giving them the building blocks for future musical experiences. These sessions not only preserve cultural heritage, but also support the children’s emotional well-being, promote resilience and help them build self-esteem.
Due to a lifetime of war and occupation, high percentages of children in Gaza show symptoms of heavy psychological and emotional wounds, including depression, frustration and social withdrawal.
“We need to have fun with the children. We need to remind them that life is beautiful. Yes, we have some things that are hard and stressful, but this is life in Gaza. We can focus on the things that bring us joy. We want to remind them that life is not about wars, that is not the real life. Sometimes there are hard times, but that is not all of life. That is our goal for people in Gaza, to remind them that there is a life to live and that there are beautiful things in life.”
– Mahmoud Abushawish, Gaza Program Coordinator
Musical Ambassador Ari Honarvar, an Iranian refugee who resides in California, offers drum circles, music, and dance events for the asylum seekers who are stuck at the US border including refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Mexico. These individuals are fleeing countries that rank in the top, worldwide, for gang violence, corruption, extortion, and homicides.
Ari creates a safe space to enjoy the music and escape into the sounds and rhythms of countries they came from. Musicians accompany her to help provide stress relief and healing from the wounds of war in the form of Mexican and Central American music, drumming, and dance. She encourages the refugees, many of whom are young children, to dance, laugh, sing and drum. Participants report relief from stress and a sense of relaxation perhaps for the first time since leaving their home countries.
Ari reaches out to many different refugee groups in the San Diego area. She has drummed and danced with Afghan, Iraqi, Syrian, Haitian and Ukrainian refugees offering her Resilience Through Joy program to those who have been traumatized by violence and displacement.