Once a month our on-going training program for MwB Community Music Leaders and trainees in Rwanda pauses for a concert, as the young leaders perform for each other. This week guitarists, drummers and bass players performed together a collection of songs for children and teenagers.
The team of MwB Community Music Leaders and trainees meet at Kigali Music School for their on-going training and support. Professional musicians Yves, Espoir and Bonani teach the young leaders to play guitar, bass, drums and in singing technique. These are skills that enhance the leaders’ musicality, allowing them to use increasingly complex musical approaches in workshops with children. They are also skills that the leaders share freely during support activities.
In Rwanda there are currently 25 trained MwB Community Music Leaders in our team. This year 29 more will graduate from our training program. These 29 young leaders come from four community organizations that work with HIV-affected and conflict-affected children. Over the next year (with your support!) we will train a further 90 young people, including young refugees, young people affected by war on the DRC-Rwanda border, and young HIV-affected people, to be leaders in their communities using music and nonviolence.
The current team work every week offering regular musical support to 600 children, and they are employed by Musicians without Borders to lead music outreach events that benefit an average of 120 vulnerable children each month.
Next month we hope to announce the start of a new initiative employing the MwB Community Music Leaders to run workshops to benefit 2000 more children over the coming year.
In September 2012, Chris Nicholson set up a music therapy program for people living with HIV and AIDS at a clinic in urban central Rwanda. In September 2013, he returned to continue his therapy work with vulnerable HIV+ adolescents and to train staff in Music & Health. He is Project Manager of Rwanda Youth Music and Tanzania Youth Music. Prior to his involvement with music therapy, Chris had an international performance and teaching career as a classical guitarist. He studied classical guitar at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and in Spain with maestros Jose Tomas and Alex Garrobe.