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Occupied Palestinian territories

    Why do we work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories?

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.  As Salameh Bishara, the Resource and Curriculum Development Officer at the Evangelical Lutheran Schools (ELCJHL) in Beit Sahour, explained:
"Palestinians, in general, and Palestinian children in particular are under lots of pressure due to the unstable prevailing political and financial situation. Some children are traumatized and need help psychologically and emotionally."
 

Our Projects to date

Our introductory skill-sharing projects have helped local staff address the emotional and psychological needs of the children in ELCJHL schools in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Ramallah. We worked closely with Project Leader and Music Therapist Liz Coombes and the volunteer team, Music Therapists Hazel Child and Teleri Dyer to deliver the initial phase of the project in 2012 and provided on-going support with their help until the end of 2014. To find out more about Project Beit Sahour project please click here to read a detailed summary. 
 
We also delivered a skill-sharing project alongside Project Leaders, Canon Paul Miller and Music Therapist, Claire Tillotson for children living at an SOS village in Bethlehem in 2009 and 2010 which you can read more about by clicking here. 
 

The next steps: Project Beit Sahour

All our projects are reviewed at the end of each year by members of the steering group (comprising the Project Leader, Project Manager and Director from MasT). During the meeting for Project Beit Sahour, we acknowledged that MasT had fulfilled our commitment to provide the introductory training and immediate support to enable the three schools to establish music programmes. We also discussed what support the Local Partners might need in the future and, after careful consideration, we agreed that Liz as Project Leader would be able to provide this for them.  Liz has a strong network she can draw on in both the UK and Palestine and MasT  will remain part of this network. From 2015 onwards it will be Liz who will remain in direct contact with the Local Partners and with whom they will be able to discuss what is needed to develop their music programmes and to develop their skills further. 
 
Liz will remain involved with Music as Therapy as a member of our Advisory Panel of Music Therapists, so we will continue to hear regular updates about their work. If there is a stage in the future where she (or our Local Partners) need our involvement once more and then we’ll be delighted to explore the opportunity.  
 

Our Involvement for 2015

We are in the early stages of developing and expanding our Distance Learning Programme model, which we have delivered in Romania for the last 5 years, to make it available to our Local Partner’s in Palestine.