Occupied Palestinian Territories
Although Music as Therapy International has no political bias, we recognise the impact that the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has on the people living there. We have introduced music therapy to a number of schools helping address the emotional needs of children in the region and continue to respond to requests that will strengthen local support of their emerging music therapy practice.
Impact and Activities to date
Our first project in the Occupied Palestinian Territories took us to the SOS Children’s Village and School in Bethlehem in 2009, where we trained local teachers and care staff to run a music programme supporting children in their care who required additional emotional support. In 2012 another introductory training was delivered to teachers and social workers in 3 schools in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Ramallah. They now receive long-term support from an independent music therapist.
We continue to hear about their work and are inspired by the long-term impact our projects have had. To date, 21 staff have been trained and equipped to run music sessions themselves in 5 care settings. 145 children and adults participated in music sessions during the project and up to 2599 children and adults could subsequently benefit as the local staff develop their music programmes.
In 2015-6, we piloted our Distance Learning Programme and introduced local community music leaders to ways in which they could make music accessible to young children with disabilities in the refugee camps where they worked, a group they felt unable to work with effectively. The Distance Learning model is particularly relevant in this region given the challenges in convening training locally, due to political restrictions on movement and volunteer safety. We have now developed our Distance Learning model into a Blended Learning Programme which we deliver in partnership with Musicians without Borders.
Our work is not always about what WE can do, but we also invest in Capacity Building activities - enabling others to do more themselves to make music more widely accessible to vulnerable children and adults or to reach communities we can't ourselves. We are always pleased when we can find a local response to a request. In 2017 and continuing into 2018, we have been providing professional support to a local music therapist, Tsvia Horesh, who has been delivering introductory music as therapy training to the staff working with children with disabilities at the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre. We previously worked with Tsvia on her own skill-sharing project benefiting local teachers in Myanmar (read more here).
“We have observed some developments during the music sessions. For example, the students sit for long periods of time, they respect each other more…... We think that the students’ behaviour has changed because the music really is a wonderful way to interact with the students as a therapy session”
We currently have 6 local social workers, educators and musicians enrolled on our Blended Learning Programme, which is run in partnership with Musicans without Borders. Our 'students' started the course in July 2017 and will graduate in June 2018. We are pleased to be working with Musicians without Borders to offer our Blended Learning Programme again this year, starting in the summer 2018. Please send us an email if you are interested to know more about this training opportunity.