Myanmar is a country in South East Asia, undergoing political, social and economic transition. Due to poor educational and medical infrastructure, many children with physical and cognitive disabilities do not receive adequate care.

There are no local professionals in the helping, therapeutic and clinical fields such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, clinical psychology or expressive therapies.

The need for music therapy in Myanmar was brought to our attention by Israeli music therapist, Tsvia Horesh.

Impact and Activities to date

In 2012, music therapist Tsvia Horesh received consultancy from Music as Therapy International to support her in the delivery of a first introductory music therapy training course for local workers from 9 special education schools in Yangon. The project aimed to help address the needs of the Local Partners and provide them with additional practical tools to use with the children in their care. Support and guidance was given to Tsvia throughout every stage of the project; from the designing and planning stages in early 2012 to the implementation of the initial project in May 2012, as well as several follow-up visits between 2012 and 2014.

In 2016, Tsvia delivered further training in Yangon to 15 teachers and 10 mothers of children with special needs. In January 2017, Tsvia returned to Myanmar for a follow-up workshop in Yangon with her former students. She also travelled to Upper Myanmar, to train 13 teachers from 7 schools, together with parents of autistic children: 4 mothers, one father and one 70-year-old grandfather! This was the first time the training was given outside of Yangon, to participants from 3 northern towns.

Since 2012, approximately 65 teachers and parents from 15 special education schools have completed Tsvia’s training courses. They have since gone on to run music programmes in special schools and homes in Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi, and Pyin oo lwin. This means that there are now hundreds of children benefitting from receiving regular therapeutic music sessions.

In 2017, Tsvia raised the issue of sustaining and developing local practice in the longer term as physically returning for visits is not always possible. Therefore, in 2018, Tsvia requested to work with us to adapt the Practical Assignment component from our Distance Learning Programme to provide support for local staff continuing to use music from afar.

Current Activities

This year we will be working with Tsvia and Local Partners in two schools in Yangon, towards providing the opportunity of an adapted version of the Distance Learning model to 4 local teachers. You can keep up to date with Tsvia's contining work by clicking here.

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