We are excited to be starting work with Music Therapists Sarah Whiteside and Alastair Robertson, looking at ways to make the benefits of music therapy available to vulnerable people in Georgia.
After Georgia declared its independence in 1991, political unrest led to a lengthy civil war and widespread inter-ethnic violence. Hundreds of thousands of Georgians were forced to abandon their homes. Even after the end of the civil war, considerable political instability continued, and further displacement of people resulted from the armed conflict in South Ossetia [a disputed region in the north of Georgia]. Throughout these challenging times, many organisations offered emergency relief and then longer-term activities to improve the social and economic conditions of the vulnerable displaced populations. Alongside this there is ongoing investment into building a civil society and strengthening democracy.
Sarah and Alastair have both visited Georgia and been involved with some of these organisations. They brought to us their insight into how music therapy could play an important part in the recovery process for children and adults whose lives were devastated during these difficult years. Together we are discussing a project which they will take to Georgia in Spring 2011, in collaboration with Local Partners the Charity Humanitarian Centre "Abkhazeti". We have been offering advice and support as they have developed their ideas in recent months and we hope to formalise this partnership in the autumn.