During the last week of October Otto de Jong and Sherwin Kirindongo, two trainers from Musicians without Borders, gave seven workshops to Palestinian trainees in becoming music workshop leaders.
Two training days took place in Silwan, East-Jerusalem. Silwan suffers from ongoing settler violence and army incursions, resulting in violent clashes between the Palestinian residents and the Israeli forces and settlers.
Ten young people from Silwan and Beit Safafa participated in the workshop. Most of them are active in the Madaa Silwan Creative Center (www.madaasilwan.org
) where they work with children in various fields, like dabke (traditional Palestinian dance) and theater.
The training was focused on a nonviolent and positive approach to working with children, using music as a tool for non-verbal communication and expression of creativity.
The other workshops were held in al-Awdah Center in al-Azzeh Camp, Bethlehem. Divided in two groups, 16 women participated. Most of them live in the refugee camps and small villages around Bethlehem, like Dheisheh Camp, Batir, Shawahrah, Nu’aman and Husan.
The participants experienced the positive effects of music through drumming, body percussion and singing, and learned how to use music in their work with children.
The trainees were also trained in giving and receiving feedback, an important skill for a (music) workshop leader. At the beginning of the week it was still difficult for some participants to give feedback in a positive, constructive and empowering way, but at the end of the week all managed and felt comfortable giving and receiving each others’ feedback.
During the coming months, the two women groups will receive more training in music from MwB and non-violence from HLT. At the same time, the participants will lead music workshops for children in their own communities under supervision of MwB. The children that will participate in these music workshops include children from refugee camps, children with learning difficulties, children with cancer, and children with diabetes.