With the funds we have received for this project we were able to strengthen the Amani Clubs that are still active and providing Socio Emotional learning opportunities for over 250 children and youth in rural areas of Quindío and Cali in Colombia. Even though these children and youth have not been able to meet in person yet, because of the pandemic, Amani at home has adapted to the new possibilities and realities of these children by providing virtual meetings and biweekly creative digital content shared through WhatsApp.
More recently, in the months of May and June by combining financial efforts, we were able to provide a DIY kit that contained materials for children to build their own xylophone at home and with help from their families. The results have been wonderful! Even though Amani participants had already built other considerably basic instruments using recycled materials, which is a key aspect of Amani’s curriculum, the xylophone required an additional level of complexity and therefore was a great opportunity for parents to help. Additionally, Amani’s Teaching Artists had been laying foundations and expectations for students to be able to use a musical instrument with melodic scales, which implies a deeper level of music concepts understanding. This technical aspect is now being combined with activities that allow children to pair melodic creations with expressing their feelings and ideas for their clubs and personal circumstances.
Moreover, these materials were delivered a few days before social protests started in the streets of Colombia, and several children who are part of the project live in heavily affected areas where public order has been a serious issue. Nevertheless, the amazing Teaching Artists through Escuela Nueva Activa strategies – such as youth-led committees and self-reporting progress formats – have been able to keep children and youth engaged as they continue to provide Amani activities remotely. These music-centered clubs, amid social unrest and the health crisis of COVID, have remained a safe space where not only boys and girls have gained confidence to express their voices and ideas through music, but also their parents. Many of these children have recently faced the death of someone close to them. In some Amani virtual meetings, they have expressed their gratitude for the project because it has given them and their families tools and strategies to identify and understand their strong feelings, to be able to talk about them and find ways to express them through rhythms, melodies, or other forms of creativity.
As this project approaches its end, participants of the Amani Clubs along with their Teaching Artists are working towards a final virtual concert where they can showcase some creative results of their journey and leave this process with tools to keep expressing their voices creatively and effectively.
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