In 2015, we started a pilot program with Music as Therapy International in collaboration with our ongoing program Palestine Community Music. Three people have successfully participated in the one year distance learning course, which included monthly written assignments and practical work with young children with special needs. Three small groups of children from al-Azzeh refugee camp, House of Hope and the school for special needs in Beit Jalla received eight sessions in which they worked towards goals such as increasing concentration, sharing with others and taking initiative.
After making a few adjustments to the course to correspond with the needs of the local culture, we will begin a second round in July 2017. Six to eight new trainees will follow the one year course under the supervision of Music as Therapy International and Musicians without Borders’ music coach. We have translated all tutorials and learning material into Arabic, so the course can also be followed by people with a limited knowledge of English. In September 2017, the new group of trainees will receive three days of training by music therapists from MasT International. The practical work will begin in February 2018, which includes eight sessions for three-four children with special needs, given by each trainee.