Friday, June 09, 2006

Comments on Social Action Through Music and Cultural Policy, Part 3 (From my Masters Essay)

As mentioned before, along with the Venezuelan System of Youth and Children;s Orchestras and its replications in Latin America, several organizations around the world have developed projects to achieve social development, provide effective participation in the arts, and preserve their artistic integrity. These include the African Children’s Choir, which focuses on children aged seven to eleven who have lost one or both parents. Having originated in Uganda in 1984, it is supported by the Foundation for Life, a Christian organization, and now has programs in Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan and Kenya. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Afro-reggae Cultural Group was founded in 1993 with the mission “to promote social inclusion and social justice through art, Afro-Brazilian culture and education, bridging differences and serving as foundations to citizenship sustainability”. Afro-reggae gives instruction in traditional Brazilian percussion and dance to youth at risk from the “favelas” in Rio de Janeiro to keep them from joining drug-dealing gangs, and by giving them tools to empower other youth. They receive financial support from international and local organizations as well as from U.S. Foundations. The violin program at the Gandhi Ashram School in Kalimpong in the Indian Himalayas teaches children from the Biswa Karma class, one of the lowest in the Hindu caste system. Support and instruction to learn violin, and opens educational and social mobilization opportunities. The program, began in the early 1990s, is supported by Indian, German and Canadian donations. Worth mentioning also is Guatemala's Caja Ludica, in which I taught a bit, coordinated a percussion troupe for a while, and co-produced and performed in several montages. I miss them...

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