Project #6366

Provide Music Education to Children in Mali

by Playing For Change Foundation
Beginners with djembe teacher Modibo Traore
Beginners with djembe teacher Modibo Traore

The students are continuing to receive classes in dance, kora, djembe, and the traditions of the griot. One of the advanced djembe students, Adama Diawara, expresses his gratitude for the gift that the École de Musique de Kirina has given him: "I'm very happy I'm very good in Djembe. I thank PFC/PFCF and all who are helping them to give us the opportunity to be trained for a better future. Thank you all."

We are also happy to announce that the school has been able to make some much-needed repairs. These renovations include: cement floors for three of the classrooms, sheet metal and plywood to reinforce the roof and ceilings, sand and stonework, a fresh coat of paint, a sound system and generator, and repairs to broken instruments. Thanks to everyone who is helping with the upgrades - the school is going to be better than ever!

Koras that needed repairs
Koras that needed repairs
Thank you for your support!
Thank you for your support!

I’Ecole de Musique de Kirina brought everyone in Kirina together to celebrate. It is the 5th consecutive year the PFCF music school in Mali has participated in PFC Day. This year's celebration included performances by students, teachers, special guests and some of Mali's finest musicians. The most exciting part about Playing For Change Day is the students were able showcase what they've learned at the school for their community and the world.

In addition to the performances, for the first time the administrators and teachers in Mali were able to film the event and create their own video (a laptop and microphone that were donated to the program earlier this year). We’re sharing the video with you to see the beautiful ways your contribution has made an impact in the lives of the children in Mali, their families and the community of Kirina.


30% Bonus Day on Wednesday, July 15th! GlobalGiving is offering a 30% match on all donations, while funds remain. Matching begins at 9:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time. Click here at 9:00 Wednesday morning to make your gift!

More often than not, when you read about music education, you hear about all the benefits learning music can have on a child: more self-esteem, better collaboration with peers, and increased learning in primary school, to name a few. The benefits of these programs extend beyond the students participating in them, however; the seed of change that is planted in the school grows to include the teachers, their families, and the communities they live in.

Seidou Kone teaches percussion at the PFCF music school in Mali. He carries his drum on his back and rides his bicycle 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from his home in Nafadji, where he lives with his family, to the village of Kirina to give drum lessons.

Seidou is a talented musician and a joyful teacher—someone his students can look up to and learn from—and as much passion and effort as he puts into teaching, the school gives something back to him, too. He teaches students about rhythm and music, and gains pride from keeping their cultural traditions alive. He puts his time and energy into the school, and is able to help support his family.

“Being a teacher at the school has significantly changed my life,” he says. “I have better harvests now because I can buy fertilizers and tools, so it has also helped [my family’s] nourishment issues.”

When you support PFCF music education programs, not only are you creating a learning opportunity for the students, you are providing the opportunity for teachers like Seidou and their families to live happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives.

“I am very much respected in the village. Now I can afford to satisfy my needs, thanks to the work I’m doing.”

Thank you for making it possible for Seidou, and all of the PFCF music teachers, to continue sharing their wisdom and knowledge with the students. They are living examples for many of these kids, showing them that with education and hard work, the future can be bright. 

Seidou Kone, his wife, and seven children
Seidou Kone, his wife, and seven children
Seidou Kone and Students in Percussion Class
Seidou Kone and Students in Percussion Class


30% Bonus Day On Wednesday, March 18th! GlobalGiving is offering a 30% match on all donations up to $1,000 per donor per project, while funds remain. Matching begins at 9:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time. Click here at 9:00 Wednesday morning to make your gift! 

PFCF music student, Guem, lives in Mali's capital city of Bamako and travels 30 kilometers by bus to attend classes at École de Musique de Kirina. Meet his friends, follow him on his journey to the music school, and se how studying music has changed his life. Click here to watch Guem's video diary.

In October 2010, the Playing For Change Foundation opened its second music school in West Africa: L’École de Musique de Kirina, in Mali, located in a small village 30 kilometers outside the capital city, Bamako. Kirina is a unique village, as most of its inhabitants are griots, keepers of the oral tradition and history. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better place in this country to build the school. 

Every week, close to 200 children attend free classes in traditional instruments, dance, English and French. Since 2012, Mali has gone through several serious political issues, and more recently, has experienced the threat and fear of seeing the Ebola virus develop within its borders. Although Mali’s political situation has improved and Ebola hasn’t spread there, the last few years have brought uncertainties and worries for our staff. I just came back from a 10-day trip to Mali and, as always, it was a fantastic and life-changing experience. Malian people are truly among the nicest people I’ve ever met, and are so far from the image traditional media often delivers of them.

The impact of the music school on the village has been quite amazing. In addition to providing music education to the youth and helping to preserve a cultural knowledge that traces back through centuries of oral history and music, the school has generated unexpected initiatives such as the implementation of 300 solar panels in the village by the Malian government and the building of a maternity ward in the village. We also found a great water source in the village and were able to drill a well, thanks to the support of our generous donors. The Malian government then took the initiative to build a well with a solar pump and water tank.

Click on the images below to see our photo gallery on Flickr:


Jeff and Robert, two musicians from New Orleans, visited Ecole de Musique de Kirina on January 31st, 2015. Jeff, who has his own band, plays an African drum called a Dundun and teaches many kids at music schools in New Orleans. He said there is a hundreds-year history between Mali and New Orleans. According to that history some of the first people to arrive in the land of New Orleans were Abu Bakr II, a Malian emperor, and his men.

Jeff was very excited and happy to be in Mali and particularly in Kirina. Having visited all of the music institutes in Mali’s capital, Bamako, he also said Ecole de Musique de Kirina has the best teachers in Mali. Jeff suggested to those teachers at schools in Bamako to come to Kirina and have workshops with the teachers at Ecole de Musique de Kirina.

Jeff's main dream is to have a Playing For Change music school in New Orleans so that this connection between Mali and New Orleans can be reestablished, and to bring some of the teachers from Ecole de Musique de Kirina to New Orleans to have a cultural exchange. In addition to his band in New Orleans, Jeff wants to create another band in Mali, to which he gave the name “Africabrass." His hope is to strengthen the connection between musicians of New Orleans and those of Mali.


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Organization Information

Playing For Change Foundation

Location: Santa Monica, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Thea Nash
Culver City, CA United States
$14,005 raised of $15,000 goal
180 donations
$995 to go
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