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Help us set up a music program for hundreds of HIV+ children and youth in Kigali, Rwanda
Musicians without Borders
1,278 Facebook Friends
13 Team Members

Thank You!

Thanks for making this project happen. We managed to raise enough money to carry out this first week of training in February. Now we have launched a new campaign for the May training week. Please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/RwandaYouthMusic2 for more information. Donate, Share, Smile. :-)

"Let's rise up our hands to fight depression, stigmatization in order to have a better future for us and our neighbors without fear for saying that you have HIV+, and talk about our health status openly like any other medical situation, music is our first bridge to reach this goal."
WE-ACTx Youth Leaders Shared Voice
"First of all, we can not believe this. This music is important for me because before starting to do this music I was depressed and had many fear, I lost my future's hope but when I started to do this activity immediately I started to feel happiness in my heart and to create friendships between each other. That's why I can say that this music it takes one big part in my mind and for my health."  
Joseph, WE-ACTx Youth Leader
Music workshop for children and their mothers, Rwanda 2011
Aime, WE-ACTx Youth Leader
Song writing workshop
Kigali, Rwanda 2011
  "Music is a symbol of friendship for us in our country, and it will help us to create a new image between us it will help us also to be released from depression in order to have a better future. So, I think we will learn how to teach the others including our parents who are HIV+ in order to show them that they have a value for themselves and for their country."

Musicians without Borders and WE-ACTx

Background   Music Program   Rwanda Tradition   Workshops   WE-ACTx   MwB


In the 100-day genocide of 1994, an estimated 250,000 Rwandan women, along with children and infants, experienced multiple episodes of brutal rape, torture and violence. Many victims of this brutality, contracted HIV. Unaware of their condition, or lacking access to treatment, many women also gave birth to HIV+ babies. Now, it is estimated that about 150,000-170,000 Rwandan adults (age 15-49) and 22,000 Rwandan children under the age of 15 have HIV (see UNAIDS report).

In addition to poverty and health issues, Rwandan children and youth who live with HIV – including many who have been orphaned by AIDS – have to deal with social and familial exclusion, the stigma of disease, fear of the unknown, and loss of hope. Older children and adolescents carry the trauma of the genocide itself. These traumas often result in depression that leads to many other problems: dropping out of school, failure to continue taking life-saving medicine, and social dysfunction. Many families are torn by the discovery of HIV, unable to cope with the feelings of guilt, shame, fear and anger.

In the summer of 2010, Musicians without Borders sent two trainers, Danny Felsteiner and Fabienne van Eck, to Rwanda and Uganda to give workshops for children, youth and women, to assess the needs, and to explore possibilities for a long-term project. One of the NGOs Danny and Fabienne visited was a health care organization, WE-ACTx in Kigali, Rwanda. In summer 2011, Danny went back to Kigali to work with youth leaders and give music workshops at WE-ACTx’s summer camp. (Danny and Fabienne kept a blog about their work and experiences: musicbusgoesafrica.blogspot.com) During that time MwB and WE-ACTx defined a joint project to meet local needs based on MwB’s comprehensive experience working in other countries.

This project, Rwanda Youth Music, will address the needs of hundreds of HIV+ children and youth from WE-ACTx Youth Program.

The Music Program

The primary goal of Rwanda Youth Music is to train HIV+ Rwandan youth to become music workshop leaders in ongoing weekly programs run by WE-ACTx for hundreds of HIV+ children in Kigali. This strategy will build local capacity so that skills remain embedded in the region – and the music continues to sound – after the initial project ends.

The content and structure of Rwanda Youth Music will be based on Musicians without Borders’ Music Workshop Leaders module. The curriculum and schedule will be modified to address local needs, to include cultural and musical traditions, and to incorporate voice training and song-writing classes co-led by local Rwandan musicians.

Rwanda Youth Music will:

  • Deliver a 100-hour training program for 15 youth (“peer parents”) to become music workshop leaders, building local capacity;

  • Deliver, through peer parents, weekly music workshops for more than 300 children, integrated into WE-ACTx’s children support programs, strengthening and supporting the children’s physical, emotional and social development;

  • Deliver voice training and song-writing workshop training for 15 peer parents and 100 children integrated into WE-ACTx’s children support programs, increasing the children’s self-esteem and confidence;

  • Deliver, through peer parents and MwB trainers, Family Music Workshops every 6-8 weeks where children will teach their families what they have learned in the music and song-writing workshops, building family bonding and re-establishing trust;

  • Promote community involvement and social awareness by strengthening the role of the youth leaders as part of a group engaged in social awareness (Youth Ending Stigma, see below);

  • Support local Rwandan music-making traditions by recruiting local musicians to lead voice training, drumming circles, and song-writing classes, and to accompany recording sessions;

  • Record the children’s songs, including production of a CD by local technicians in a recording studio, with a CD going to each participant; and

  • Establish a basis for extending the project in coming years in Rwanda and neighboring countries.

Incorporating Rwandan Traditions and Music Culture in The Program

In our projects we collaborate with local musicians in order to bring in the programs local traditions and music culture. During the workshops in the two past summers, with the help of local artists, we used songs in Kinyarwanda, and Rwandan traditional rhythms and dances.

In this program we will cooperate with a Rwandan singer and recording artist who will work with MwB team of trainers, and accompany and support the youth leaders in their weekly work with the children.

In the summer of 2012, during the yearly summer camp, we will cooperate with the incredible group of Rwandan women Ingoma-Nshya, who drum, dance and sing (see here, and here) - you can hear them drumming in the end of the video above, or see them in action in the following YouTube videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fee_82YFkl4 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF2MxROm7zs

Ingoma Nshya

What's in a Musicians without Borders' Music Workshop?

Our workshops are about creativity, exploration, teamwork, learning, and a lot of fun. We use singing, rhythms, body percussion, dance, improvisation, drumming, song writing, and more, in a safe, positive setting, where everyone is included, and no one is wrong.

We are not music therapists, but we do use elements of music therapy, psychology, sociology, and child behavior, in order to give the greatest experience for each and every child in the group. Using fun activities we encourage children to listen, respect each other, work in teams, be creative, and build their self-esteem and confidence.

WE-ACTx - Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment for HIV

WE-ACTx was created in early 2004 in response to a request from women for help in accessing life-saving treatment. Since then, their programs have expanded in both size and scope. In addition to full clinical care, the organization is set to empower HIV-infected and affected women and children to take charge of their lives and become leaders in the fight against AIDS.

In Summer 2010, the WE-ACTx Youth Program was initiated, including 300 children and youth between the ages 12-24, and 150 children under the age of 12. The children meet once a week in one of three locations, and participate in group discussions, and educational and recreational activities. In addition, children get to meet with one of the youth leaders, called peer parents, who act as their role models. Peer parents listen and try to help children with their personal problems, and are responsible for motivating and inspiring the children to continue taking their medicine, and to realize that successful and healthy life with HIV is possible.

Some of the peer parents from WE-ACTx have started a group that includes also HIV+ youth leaders from other organizations in Rwanda. The group is called YES –Youth Ending Stigma. They have written a book in Kinyarwanda and English that collects their personal stories of living and coping with HIV, and they are developing community-based cooperatives to economically sustain their endeavors. They are determined to fight ignorance and stigma in the society, and to set an example for the thousands of children who live with HIV, encouraging them to be active in their communities and bring positive social change.

For more information see: www.we-actx.org

Musicians without Borders

Musicians without Borders is a recognized pioneer in the application of music as a tool for reconciliation, healing and renewal in post-conflict regions.

MwB’s long-term projects include the Music Bus Srebrenica, a training and workshop program in war-torn Eastern Bosnia; From Woman to Woman, introducing singing and body work into therapeutic programs for women recovering from war traumas; the Mitrovica Rock School, an inter-ethnic rock ‘n’ roll project for youth in Kosovo’s most divided city; and Music Bus Goes Middle East, a training and workshop program for children and youth in West Bank refugee camps, villages, hospitals and orphanages. These durable investments in disadvantaged and isolated people have allowed those reached by MwB projects to develop skills and talents, process grief and loss, participate and invest in their own communities and connect with others across ethnic, religious and political divides.

For more information see: www.musicianswithoutborders.org

Donations through PayPal are tax deductible, as Musicians without Borders US is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. IRS Determination Letter No. 17053119008018, 22 January 2009.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 101 people in 2 months
58% funded
No time left
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 1, 2012
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Rhythms of Drums and Sticks

    Pledge $10 or more and you will receive a personal thank you email from Musicians without Borders and WE-ACTx, updates from the project, a warm feeling in your heart, and if you wish, a personal thank you post on your Facebook wall / Twitter. (Good news: all donations of $10 or more through PayPal from the US are tax deductible under IRS code 501(c)(3).)

    15 claimed
  • $25USD
    Rhymes of Sounds

    Pledge $25 or more and you will receive the above plus your name appearing on the list of donors on the project's facebook page: http://tiny.cc/ac7r2, and a digital download of the music CD produced at the end of the program.

    38 claimed
  • $50USD
    Chimes of Music

    Pledge $50 or more and you will receive the above plus a digital download of LéLé Mam CD of World Music. This group of spectacular women is an ambassador for Musicians without Borders - http://www.lelemam.nl/en

    11 claimed
  • $75USD
    Images of Sounds

    Pledge $75 or more and you will receive the above plus a postcard of a photo from the project and a personal thank you.

    8 claimed
  • $125USD
    Harmonies of Hope

    Pledge $125 or more and you will receive the above plus a CD of your choice from Musicians without Borders list of world music productions: http://musicianswithoutborders.org/s_cd.htm

    6 out of 75 claimed
  • $250USD
    Ensembles of Sonorities

    Pledge $250 or more and you will receive the above plus a book publication of your choice from our collection of scores, songbooks and the Dutch cookbook: http://musicianswithoutborders.org/s_sheet.htm

    4 out of 50 claimed
  • $500USD
    Orchestras of Compassion

    Pledge $500 or more and you will receive the above plus a copy of the music CD produced by this program, signed with a personal thank you from Musicians without Borders' director Laura Hassler.

    1 out of 25 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Melodies of Voices

    Pledge $1000 or more and you will receive the above plus your name written in the CD list of credits; and an extra CD or book from our publications.

    1 out of 15 claimed
  • $1,500USD
    Musicians of Healing

    Pledge $1500 or more and you will receive the above plus access to our Internet edition of the Workshop Leader's Manual, which includes video footage, photos, songs, and more from our various projects; and another extra CD or book from our publications.

    0 out of 10 claimed
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