This project provides vital music therapy to teenagers living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda. We work with young people facing stigma, exclusion, poverty, hopelessness due to HIV. Music therapy and community music support have proven to be a crucial part of their healthcare. We require urgent funding to continue this work.
In the 100-day genocide of 1994, an estimated 250,000 Rwandan women, children and infants experienced multiple episodes of brutal rape and violence. Many victims of this brutality contracted HIV and gave birth to HIV+ babies. It is estimated that about 150,000-170,000 Rwandan adults and 22,000 Rwandan children under the age of 15 have HIV. In addition to poverty and health issues, young people who live with HIV deal with social and familial exclusion, the stigma of disease and loss of hope.
In cooperation with medical partner "WE-ACTx for Hope", Musicians without Borders provides clinical music therapy and therapeutic community music groups to young people living with HIV/AIDS. Music therapy is provided to young people aged 14-20 years old who are identified as being at high risk due to non-adherence to life-saving anti-retroviral treatment. A local musician trained by MwB facilitates therapeutic community music groups to support the needs of HIV+ adolescents.
As part of a pioneering multi-professional approach, we anticipate that 100 young people attending music therapy this year will show improved adherence to life-saving medications. This will support health, reducing the viral level of HIV, and maintaining immunity. The social and personal changes that we have witnessed through music therapy and therapeutic music-making include increased coping strategies to profound challenges; increased confidence; improved self-image; new hope for the future.