Occupied Palestinian Territories

Background

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. We are currently piloting our Distance Learning Programme as a way to increase access to training given restrictions on movement for political and safety reasons.

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 2014 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.

“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”

Current Activities

In 2015-6 we piloted our Distance learning Programme introducing 3 local community music leaders to ways in which they could make music accessible to young children with disabilities in the refugee camps where they work, 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. Based on the success of the pilot and continued demand for our training, we are pleased to be working in partnership with Musicians without Borders to offer the programme again in 2017.

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