Peace Through Music Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland Since 2004
Community Center Classes
Because the majority of children in Northern Ireland attend segregated schools and live in separate communities, we bring children from both sides of the community together through community center-based music classes and concerts. Socialization across secular and ethnic differences through shared activity is crucial to helping children build the common experiences and relationships which serve as a foundation for peace. Classes are currently based in two Belfast-area community centers: The An Droichead Irish Community Center and St. Vincent de Paul Afterschool Club. Our classes include
Community Center Staff Training
In keeping with our commitment to sustainable, locally-staffed programs, we are training community center staff and volunteers to conduct our children’s music classes and furnishing classes with free instruments. During their training, local staff teach alongside Liz, then continue center-based classes with the aid of local volunteers. Staff also receive free ukuleles in their second year in our program. We offer training in the following areas:
Youth-Teacher Volunteer Program
Our PTMNI youth-teacher volunteer program follows the model of our highly successful Kosovo youth volunteer program. Person-on-person and random acts of violence are woven into the fabric of everyday life in Northern Ireland, and teenagers are especially vulnerable both to being victims of violence and to being lured into acts of violence. Our youth teacher volunteer program is focused on helping teenagers build their self-esteem, pride, and positive relationships with their own community, as well as to develop a personal commitment to peacemaking. Youth teachers also assist Liz and Community Center Staff in providing music instruction to PTMNI children. Training local youth volunteers allows us to teach more children in more locations. Belfast Youth Volunteers receive weekly training in these areas:
As in Kosovo, children participating in our community center programs come together to perform singing and instruments at free community concerts. These concerts serve not only as an important learning experience and confidence-builder for our children, but as a crucial opportunity for tolerant interaction among community members from differing religious background. The father of a child performing at a Belfast Shropshire Music Foundation concert told us: “I never thought that I would see my daughter become friends with Protestant children during my lifetime. It is amazing.”
Click through the slides below to see our Northern Ireland programs in action!
Peace Through Music Kosovo
The war in Kosovo ended in 1999, but the affects of this war --Poverty, Intolerance, Segregation, Racism--are experienced every day, especially by children raised in camps and those living in minority communities. SMF is working with the children and teenagers of Kosovo to develop self esteem, tolerance, and a love of peace through music.
Peace Through Music Uganda
Northern Uganda is recovering from a brutal civil war in which 20,000-200,000 children were abducted and forced to become child soldiers. Over 1 million people were forced to live in IDP camps, where they experienced malnutrition and extreme poverty. Many people continue to live in these camps even though they are closed. SMF is working with children, teenagers, and young adults who were child soldiers as well as children born while their mothers were abducted, building tolerance, peace, and especially self worth through music.
Peace Through Music Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland continues to be 95% segregated between Catholics and Protestants. Bombs explode or are discovered weekly, and riots take place monthly. Murals of men wearing balaclavas and holding guns are on homes and businesses everywhere. Children and adults alike suffer from low self esteem as they experience anger and violence daily. SMF is working to bring children together from both sides of the community, forming life-long and life-changing relationships through music.
Syrian Refugee Crisis
The war in Syria is at the root of the worst refugee crisis since WWII. Children are being both targeted and recruited, and families have left Syria by the millions. SMF is building a program not just for Syrian refugees. but also Kurdish, Afghan and Yazidi children and teenagers-- all in Greek refugee camps. The program is providing structure and much-needed opportunities for acheivment and self expression.