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This blog was written by Laura Hassler, Director Musicians Without Borders

Music belongs to everyone, and everyone has a right to play, sing, perform and enjoy music—this was the inspiration for Worldwide Music Day, established in 1981 and celebrated around the world every year on June 21. Everyone has a right to music.

But wait. The day before—June 20—is International Day of the Refugee—a day calling attention to the plight of people forced to flee their homes. A day marking the needs—and rights—of refugees for safety, freedom, protection from harm. Even a little knowledge of what today’s refugees face is enough to conclude that displaced people are not likely to have access to music… nor to so many other ‘rights’ that most of us take for granted. 

War, repression, climate collapse and gruelling poverty force millions of people to flee their homes, risking their lives in search of safety and the chance of a future for themselves and their children… only to meet exclusion, prejudice, even violence once they reach ‘safe’ places. 

Musicians Without Borders brings music to people in war and post-conflict regions, also with refugees. We work with vulnerable children, youth, women and men in refugee camps and centers in Rwanda, DRC/Congo, Palestine, Jordan, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. 

These days, we also bring music to displaced people in the Netherlands, where overcrowded facilities, social isolation, slow processes and a policy of ‘discouragement’ often leave people stuck in a limbo with no future in sight.

When people make dangerous, traumatic journeys to find themselves excluded and discriminated, how can music help? Why is the right to music important?

Welcome Notes brings music into Dutch emergency reception centers, bringing respite from stress, grief and uncertainty to children and their families. With music, we say, ‘You are welcome here.’ 

The project was fully funded, but the demand has grown. We have a team of 10 eager, expert musicians, good contacts with the centers, and continual requests for music activities. We have the resources, and we are ready to expand, but we don’t have enough money to respond.

On June 20 and June 21—International Day of the Refugee and Worldwide Music Day—we aim to raise funds to double the number of music workshops for children and their families in Dutch refugee centers.

You can help us reach this goal. Give a donation that creates safety, inspires creativity, and promotes joy.

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