Last year, two music educators were inspired by Playing For Change to create the Khlong Toey Music Program. Now they and four other volunteers teach at the program, which serves children living in Khlong Toey, a large slum in Bangkok, Thailand. Often classes are taught outside in the slum where the children and instructors navigate weather, trash, and other disruptions on a regular basis. Our hope and goal is to provide these children with a stable indoor location for instruction for one year.
The 100,000 people of Khlong Toey face many problems typical of a slum area. The vicious cycle of poverty also makes it hard for children and teens to break from engaging in criminal activity as well as drug and alcohol abuse. With such social and financial problems, the children are often prevented from receiving a proper education.
This program was a response to help meet the emotional needs of the poor in the Khlong Toey slum by providing music instruction and a safe environment for the many vulnerable children. This is not just a music program, but a vital mission that helps build self-esteem and hope in young people, providing a sense of family and belonging for kids who might otherwise be roaming in gangs, sniffing glue and taking drugs.
Many of these children have never had a positive role model like the teachers who selflessly volunteer their time. A few students have already begun to mentor others. A special emphasis is being placed on supporting the girls, who often lack the support of their families to participate. By providing a music program into this troubled region, we have a chance to make positive effective change to the community at large.
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