Welcome Notes

Around the world, wars and armed violence, climate devastation and poverty have resulted in a staggering number of displaced people.

Welcome Notes is Musicians Without Borders’ response to the arrival in Europe of people seeking safety from war, poverty and climate change. We began by training musicians in the Netherlands to work with vulnerable people in asylum centers, but soon expanded to include training and pilot projects in Germany, Italy, Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

From single activities bringing joy to children in refugee centers, to longer-term social inclusion projects for newcomers, the program brings the connecting power of music to the complicated issues of displacement, reception and inclusion.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In collaboration with War Childhood Museum and Superar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we bring music and arts activities to vulnerable children in refugee camps and centers.

Twenty years ago, our Music Bus program brought music to vulnerable children in ethnically divided cities, villages, and refugee settlements. Building on networks and expertise from earlier projects, Welcome Notes Bosnia and Herzegovina brings back the mobile music teams. The teams reach out to today’s displaced children in the region, while our partner organization complement the mobile music teams with music and arts workshops.

Rap projects

In collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages in Italy and Greece, Musicians Without Borders rap trainers Manu van Kersbergen and Guus van der Steen worked with unaccompanied minors, co-creating rap songs with young people to express their hopes and dreams for the future.

Music leadership training

We train musicians in inclusive music leadership approaches especially suited to working with vulnerable (young) people experiencing displacement. In Italy, Greece, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, this has focused on work in refugee centers.

In Germany, our training programs in collaboration with Landesmusikakademie North Rhine Westphalia strengthen this center’s structural programs with local and newcomer musicians in support of social inclusion in the region.

Suzana Đorđević

Project manager Welcome Notes Bosnia and Herzegovina

Haris Abdagić

Field coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Almerisa Delic

Trainer for Bosnia and Herzegovina team

Tony Pesikan

Trainer for Bosnia and Herzegovina team

Manu van Kersbergen

Rap trainer

Guus van der Steen

Rap trainer

Amanda Koser-Gillespie

Music leadership trainer

Darren Abrahams

Music leadership trainer

Juan David Garzon

Music leadership trainer

Marion Haak-Schulenburg

Music leadership trainer

Matthias Witt

Coordinator Landesmusikakademie NRW


Rap workshops in Athens refugee camps

December 13, 2019
Welcome Notes program manager Anna Swinkels wrote about her experiences during one of our workshops…

Established in

Active in
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Key partners
Landesmusikakademie NRW
Superar Bosnia and Herzegovina
War Childhood Museum

Key numbers


music leaders trained


young displaced people reached