Sounds of Change, established in 2016 in Amsterdam, trains ‘Community Builders’ who use the power of music to transform lives in refugee camps, marginalised communities and areas of conflict and devastation. In recent years they have been carrying out workshops across five countries in the Middle East where societies are divided and isolated, with the aim of sustaining long term, local self-sufficiency.
The BBT Communities grant will support the development of the Sounds of Change Academy in the Netherlands, offering training for musicians (50% former refugees) who want to extend their musicianship and access other significant ways to use their skills to impact on society. While the pandemic is restricting travel, they will work with people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and centres for asylum seekers primarily in Amsterdam and Utrecht. After training they will be able to develop and execute their own plans as independent trainers and Community Builders, as well as offer fresh ideas and further value to the work of Sounds of Change.
Children have very limited daily activities here. But making music, this project makes them very happy. It is something new for them. They know each other more because of this … it makes friendship. Every child comes from another country, there are many different cultures and stories. But music makes one. I find this the most beautiful part. … In general, you don’t see people smiling here often, because of their history. But when we talk to the children about this musical project, they smile, they say “Oh music, we will play music”. It gives people a positive feeling. Children as well as their parents. If the child is happy, then the parents are happy as well.
Resident in a Dutch refugee centre
Making a circle is just sacred. As long as everyone stays in the circle, it is possible to create beautiful things within this circle… The more the children are going along with being in the space and being in the now, the more a safe space becomes important. Outside of this circle is where their traumas or problems are. But within the circle it is just about the now and the musical game you are playing at that specific moment. I think one of the key components is definitely this circle.