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A New Music Therapy Program Is Helping Syrian Refugee Children Heal
There's a happy cacophony in the "Musiqati" class in Jordan's Azraq Refugee Camp. Syrian refugee children are playing a small orchestra of musical instruments all at once, and the effect is exhilarating. UNICEF's new musical therapy program is a big hit: "We do everything here. Like drum and piano," says 9-year-old Nour. "I like the xylophone. I feel happy."
My friends told me about this place," says 7-year-old Alaa. "I was told there is music, games and anything you want. I like it a lot because music is everything."
Seven years of brutal civil war has taken a staggering toll on Syrian children. UNICEF's "Musiqati" music therapy program, piloted in UNICEF Makani (My Space) centers, provides a safe space for children to be creative and to share their emotions through words, harmonies, rhythm and melodies. Children learn free expression and group communication through solos, duets, trios and groups. Learning musical communication techniques helps bring the children and their families together.
Facilitators, teachers and parents say they've already noticed a positive change in the children's behavior and emotional well-being since the pilot program began — including an improved ability to concentrate, greater self-confidence and taking greater responsibility for their actions at home and at school.
"When the children first come to my class, they are sad and holding many things inside," says Ahmed Al-Kateeb, a psychosocial support facilitator in the UNICEF Makani in Azraq. "When they release that, they become happy. I feel happy for them, boys and girls."
Top photo: Syrian refugee Nour, 9, plays piano in the 'Musiqati' class in Azraq Refugee Camp. UNICEF’s new musical therapy program is helping children to heal and teaching them how to express their feelings. © UNICEF/UN0206284/Herwig