Update 13: July 2012
Well, our current academic year has now come to an end. It has been an amazing year full of experiences, excitements, sad stories and happy ones.
April and May were rather quiet months for work – together with the schools we had holidays for about three weeks in spring, after that we came back to teaching, and continued till the end of June.
In late May we started to put together the four different school ensembles featuring the different instruments the children had studied since December. Arranging those groups and their training sessions was quite a challenge for itself, since we sort of clashed with the final exams at schools and a general feeling of “We need holidays already!”. But it worked well in the end, also because of the efforts put forward by our teachers Saied Silbak, Akram Abdelfattah and Reem Hamed.
Social empowerment sessions at schools continued, and the children have developed a really close relation of trust and sympathy to our two trainers. Also the teachers at all four schools took part in a social empowerment workshop, and many of them reported on the changes they witnessed happening with their students along the year.
One of the schools actually took the school ensemble three days before our final concert to perform in front of the school for the students of the final year. And without their music teacher. We were a bit hesitating, but the kids did great - and it did give them a boost of self confidence.
On the 29.06.2012 we closed our current academic year with a fun enrichment activity for the children and handing out certifications.
But before that we had our big event: the end-of-the-year concert at the Beit Almusica hall in front of almost 150 family members, representatives of the schools and municipalities and the Welfare Foundation that generously supported our project along the way.
For most of the children it was the first time ever to perform on stage and in front of public – and they did great. Everyone came in his/ her finest dress for the occasion. It was amazing to see how cool kids were. One girl said: ”I am not excited. I know I can do this. If I can do it alone with my teacher I can do this here as well.” When the project started teaching 8 months ago she was quite anxious about having private lessons without class mates…
For some impressions from the concert, please follow this link: AACT final concert 2012.
For us now it is another month and a half of closing up the year, evaluating all data – be it our own musical evaluations, the attendance rates and the teachers’ feedback as well as the second round of the social evaluation.
We know different stories from children who moved through changes throughout the year and for whom music provided meaning and support. One of our students, a 12 year old boy, asked if it was possible to take his instrument home for the holidays to continue practice. He was always the one responsible for the younger students of his group, carrying instruments if needed and keeping things in order. During the year his father was imprisoned for drug dealing while his mother has been diagnosed with a severe illness. For him, the days and lessons at Beit Almusica provided some happy time, away from everything else, with a teacher that paid attention to him both as student and as a person.
There are many more stories like that, and we will share some of them with you in our next update, together with the results of our evaluation.
Meanwhile, we are working on getting support for the next academic year – and you can certainly make a difference.
Regardless of whether you choose to continue supporting the AACT project with time, money, or good will, we are determined to continue this important work in 2012/2013 and beyond and to be great partners with you and responsible and effective stewards of your hope, time and resources.
Please tell five of your friends about this project, post it on your face book and tell your family and friends about it. Even the smallest support from you can make a huge difference in the lives of these children.