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  • ‘Music Therapy and Dementia Care in the 21st Century’ conference at Anglia Ruskin University

    We're looking forward to the conference on Music Therapy and Dementia Care at Anglia Ruskin University this weekend. Alexia Quin and Caroline Anderson, along with Ming Hsu and Prof. Helen Odell-Miller will make up the panel for the roundtable discussion ‘What is the relevance of skill-sharing to music therapists working in the field of dementia?’  This will be a brilliant opportunity for us to canvas the views held amongst the music therapy profession, enabling us to better understand the areas of need and resources available in dementia care in the UK.

    In addition, one of our Advisory Panel members, Nicky Haire (along with Community Musician Jane Bentley) will be speaking about the scope for collaboration between musicians, Community Musicians and Music Therapists working in dementia care in Scotland. 

    Click here to download a poster, or for more information on the conference, click here

  • Project Gisenyi Week 2

    After some much needed time at the weekend to relax, reflect and walk along the beautiful lake kivu Steph and i were ready for our last two days at UCC. We were pleased that our visit briefly coincided with Sharon the project manager for the Point Foundation who we had been liaising with prior to the trip. Sharon is very supportive of the music programme at UCC and within the Community Based Living.

    On Monday we observed 3 music sessions and in the afternoon we had a meeting with Zachary, the director of UCC to discuss his thoughts on how the music programme is going as well as to let him know how impressed we were with the approach of some of his staff and their commitment to the children and young people they are working with. We also visited one of the CBL houses again to run a music group with the people that lived there. It was led by Alexi and we were impressed to see how well he responded to the individual needs of those within the group.


    On Tuesday we ran two staff workshops. In one we watched the training DVD (created to share good practice across Rwanda). We stopped at certain points throughout to discuss any thoughts or ideas and this ended up turning into doing some practical activities with the staff. In the second staff workshop we addressed some of the issues that staff had been experiencing during music sessions that week and Steph gave some more general advice about running music as therapy sessions.


    We took some of the staff from UCC out that evening for a drink to say thank you and goodbye before we travelled back to Kigali the next morning. We were pleased to meet back up with Nicky and Caroline who had been busy arranging the conference and logistics for the exchange programme down in Cyangugu.

    The conference which had been arranged for Friday 3rd July was well attended and brought together staff from 23 centres for people with disabilities that are part of the Tubakunde Network, staff from Hope and Homes for Children, The National Commission for Children, Musicians without Borders, VSO, the Point Foundation and Local Partners from Gisenyi and Cyangugu. Stephanie and I played live music whilst people were arriving (myself on guitar and Steph playing beautifully on the violin) and not too much later than expected the conference began. There were speeches, discussions, an example session for all to watch, some group activities that everyone could get involved in, time to watch the training DVD and of course a hearty lunch provided by the lovely staff at St Francois D’Assise.

    We left Kigali the next evening pleased that everything had gone smoothly. Thanks to everyone who supports this work in Rwanda, it really means a lot!

    Until next time…..

    Hannah and Stephanie x

  • Music as Therapy in Rwanda 2015 - Update

    We have spent most of this week in Kigali, preparing for the conference, which took place yesterday. This conference was jointly hosted by Music as Therapy International and Tubakunde, and launches the exchange programme. This programme facilitates the rolling out of music as therapy skill-sharing across Rwanda and realizes the original vision of Project Leader Helen Leith. It also further establishes the original two centres, Ngwino Nawe and Urugwiro centre, as centres of excellence in Rwanda.

    Over seventy people from all around Rwanda attended the conference. Senior members of Tubakunde spoke about their belief in the role of music as therapy in improving the quality of care for the children in their centres. Nicky and Caroline described the history of Music as Therapy in Rwanda. Therese and Consuelo, the directors of Ngwino Nawe and Urugwiro centre spoke about the growth of music as therapy at their centres, the real benefits they have seen with this approach, and enthusiastically encouraged the conference delegates to consider participating in the exchange programme. Audace and Alphonsine, staff from the two centres, gave testimonies about changes they had seen in individual children that they attributed to music as therapy, before leading an example music as therapy group. Despite some very challenging role playing from the group participants, Alphonsine showed all her sensitivity and skill as an excellent music leader!







    We were keen that there should be musical and practical elements to the day. Steph and Hannah welcomed everyone with live music. Later, the participants were divided into four groups and took part in parallel activity sessions before watching excerpts from the DVD. The day began and ended with song. After a shared lunch it was extremely encouraging to receive a huge number of expression of interest forms; nearly all the centres represented at the conference would like to participate. All in all the exchange programme has got off to a fantastic start and we look forward to hearing from our partners at Tubakunde for the next stage.

    We’re flying back to the UK this evening. It has been a packed two weeks, and once again we’re sorry to be leaving this beautiful country of sunshine, hills, banana trees, songs, dancing and good friends. Thank you for continued support,

    Murakose cyane!

    Nicky and Caroline 

  • Music as therapy in Rwanda 2015

    Greetings from Rwanda! We’ve just completed the first stage of our trip. We visited our Local Partners at Urugwiro Centre and Ngwino Nawe and observed some of their sessions, demonstrating their maturing music as therapy practice.

    We discussed with them the exciting new step for Project Rwanda and their involvement in training the next generation of music as therapy practitioners in Rwanda. These exchange visits will take place via Tubakunde, an umbrella organization for disabled children’s villages in Rwanda and we are very excited to be collaborating with them to deliver the conference next Friday. We’ll write more about this next week!

    Our visit to Cyangugu, southwest Rwanda was an opportunity to meet up with staff at the centres and Rwanda Aid, our hosts, who we have known since 2010 and are now old friends. We shared many songs, much laughter and a few goat brochettes. It was our fourth visit there and it gets harder to say goodbye each time. Many thanks to all our supporters.

    Caroline and Nicky 

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