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Projects in Georgia

BACKGROUND

After Georgia declared its independence in 1991, political unrest led to a lengthy civil war and widespread inter-ethnic violence.  Many displaced families live in very basic settlements around Tbilisi and elsewhere to this day.  Stigma has historically prevented disabled children accessing education and poverty - with attendant emotional distress, physical and mental health problems a fact of life for many.  We have been asked by those who work with children and adults with disabilities to help them improve the opportunities available to them. 

IMPACT/ACTIVITIES (to date)

Our first project in Georgia took us to a Special School in Tbilisi in 2011.  Since then we have returned to support the staff we trained and enable teams of staff in another Special School and a Day Centre to use music with the children and adults with disabilities in their care.  To date our projects have seen 16 staff skilled and equipped to run music sessions themselves in 3 care settings:  two special schools and the Parents’ Bridge Day centre for children and adults with disabilities.  72 children and adults participated in music sessions during the project and 380 children and adults have subsequently benefit as the local staff develop their music programmes.

“It is much easier for the children with disabilities to communicate using music. I have observed progress in each beneficiary and they are more social, patient and joyful. For me personally, the structure of the sessions has been well developed and is perfectly suitable for autistic children too”.

PLANNED ACTIVITIES in 2016

Training for Trainers

There have been requests from untrained staff at Public School #200 and the Parent’s Bridge Centre to receive training. These two settings have also had interest from other schools and centres in Tbilisi to receive training. In order to build local capacity as well as to build upon the local network of practitioners we think the most appropriate response is to offer training for trainers. This will allow our Local Partner to share their skills locally with support from afar from us.

Advocacy

Meanwhile the head teacher of one of our partner schools believes there is potential for Music as Therapy to be acknowledged and included in the National Curriculum, strengthening the schools’ ability to sustain their music programme.  She has asked us to provide a summary of the evidence base for music therapy and to help her efforts to secure local strategic support for music therapy.

ANTICIPATED IMPACT in 2016

The anticipated impact is currently unknown, but if teachers from different special schools and centre in the area attend a training led by staff already using music as therapy then they may return and use their newly gained skills with the children in their school or centre. 

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