Sounds of Palestine” is a long-term social project for children in Palestine. It is based on the experiences of the successful Venezuelan music education system "El Sistema" that uses music education as a medium for long term social change. Each child participating spends several hours on multiple days per week in the music education center playing in orchestras and different groups. The education is offered free of charge so that all children can participate regardless of their social background.
In more than 25 countries all over the world it has been demonstrated that this special way of music education has very positive effects on the children as well as on their social environment. By playing music together the children learn to listen to each other and to take responsibility. In addition to this their self-confidence and social competences increase. And it became obvious that the program has the potential to prevent the children from taking drugs or becoming violent.
The goal of “Sounds of Palestine” is to build a network of such music education centers in Palestine. It was decided to start the project in Bethlehem in the Al'Azzeh- and the Aida-Refugee Camps, where in September 2012 it has been started to integrate regular music lessons in the daily life at three associated kindergartens. These kindergartens are visited by 200 children living in the two refugee camps. SInce September 2013 an after school program for first grade students is offered in addition. After this each year the next higher class level will be included until all class levels are integrated in the program.
The organization executing the project is the Katharina-Werk Basel, a Christian ecumenical community with focus on interreligious encounter and peace building activities. On the ground the project is realized in cooperation with the local NGO “Aida Youth Center Bethlehem”.
The project is financed by donations. Here at betterplace we list part of the costs which we have during the school year. Katharina-Werk Basel it is an accredited charitable organization and it guarantees the proper use of donations. But since the organization is located in Switzerland, no donation receipts can be issued in Germany.