International site Romanian site

Project Bethlehem

***This page is currently being updated***

Music Therapist Liz Coombes and ‘Assistant’, Hannah McCabe returned to the SOS Village and School in Bethlehem for a follow-up visit for our Local Partners in the spring of 2010. They spent a week observing staff run sessions, using music therapeutically with the children in their care. Liz and Hannah were able to support the staff directly by addressing any immediate challenges, as well as offering plenty of encouragement and praise. They were delighted that staff had noticed a considerable improvement in behaviour from those children who had received regular music sessions in the 6 months prior to the follow-up visit. Hannah’s reiterates this in her report when she writes;

We were thrilled to see significant development with the children’s communication skills and a reduction in the level of aggression between the group members. This resulted in the children being able to value the contributions of other group members and to listen to instruction and to each other more effectively. Furthermore, certain children who had previously displayed difficulties in waiting for their turn and listening to others were now displaying a deeper understanding of group cooperation.

To receive a copy of Hannah’s report please contact

The follow-up visit in 2012 marked the end of our formal partnership with Project Leaders, Canon Paul Miller and Music Therapist, Claire Tillotson. When they first approached us, in 2008, it was to help build on their initial investment for staff and children at the SOS Children’s Village and local school there. Together we shaped, recruited to and delivered an Introductory Music Therapy training project to equip local staff with the skills, resources and confidence to run beneficial music sessions for the children in their care. This was effectively delivered by Liz and Hannah in October 2009 (you can read their blog of the experience here). Having consolidated the initial training project with a further support visit for the Local Partners, and offered advice and ideas to support Paul and Claire with related aspects of their work in Bethlehem, we all felt our partnership had met its aims. Claire and Paul now have the confidence and skills to take their work in Bethlehem forward independently, in keeping with our firm belief in them as Project Leaders and our wish never to layer administration expenses onto activities where they are not needed.

Claire wrote; “You have all be invaluable to this project and I would like to thank you, Jane and Cleo for all your help and support over the past 18 months. We will keep you in touch with how the project is progressing and once again many thanks."

As we all hoped, the partnership with Music as Therapy International brought new volunteers to support the work started by Cannon Paul Miller and Claire Tillotson in the SOS Children's Village.  We are delighted to see the continued involvement of Liz Coombes (Music Therapist from the initial 6 week training project we co-ordinated in 2009) with further projects planned later this year and into 2011. Liz has also documented her experiences of running the project for the music therapy journal Voices.  Click here to read her article.

We are delighted that Claire and Liz have accepted the invitation to become members of our Advisory Panel, which contributes to the charity's strategy as well as helping to deliver our activities (click here for more information).


Project Bethlehem in 2012

In early 2012,Noubar Vosgueritchian, a Local Partner from Project Bethlehem began working in a residential home for children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities where he runs group and individual therapeutic music sessions once a week. Hogar Ninos Dios is run by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word. They have brand new premises close to the Church of the Nativity and a small selection of percussion instruments, including a keyboard.

Noubar runs one group session and 3-4 individual sessions per week. The latter take place in the physiotherapy suite where clients can let off steam on the swing or ball pool before and after their sessions. Liz Coombes, Project Beit Sahour steering group member and Project Bethlehem trainer was invited into these sessions, and reports that Noubar is continuing to develop his therapeutic music skills. He has undertaken an additional music therapy techniques course in Bethlehem, enabling him to use greater theoretical understanding to enhance his therapeutic music skills




In addition to the training Noubar undertook with Music as Therapy International, he also undertook an extensive training course in  Music Therapy Intervention Techniques in Beit Jalla, Palestine/West bank, organized and supported by Lifegate Rehabilitation,  and delivered by four Israeli music therapists: Tsvia Horesh M.A., CMT, Dr. Adva Schwebel CMT, Mati Bobek CMT and Nour Akkawi CMT.