Remember that song montage of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” from about 10 years ago?
The people behind it, Mark Johnson, the founder of Playing For Change, and his collaborators set up a non-profit foundation to continue their work:
What they do:
15 music programs have been created in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Argentina and Thailand. Every week more than 2,000 young people attend free classes in dance, instruments, languages and musical theory, all taught by qualified local teachers.
Projects also help meet essential needs of the larger community, including the provision of aid such as food, clean water, medicine, clothes, books, school supplies, solar energy, computers, and other modern technology. Over 15,000 people have been impacted by the Foundation’s community development and empowerment efforts throughout our program regions and beyond.
Annual program evaluations reinforce the real and positive impact of music education and demonstrate change in action. When children play music together, collaboration increases and conflict is reduced. And critically important to children, particularly those who are vulnerable due to poverty, conflict, drugs, and neglect, is that learning music increases self-esteem and fosters resilience and joy.
How great is that?