To help Syrian children in Jordan’s refugee camps overcome their traumas and feelings of loss and despair, Unicef has recently introduced a music therapy project, and it is already showing all the signs of being a success.
The UN agency’s Musiqati, or “My Music”, project, is the first music therapy programme designed for children in refugee camps that aims to help them cope with trauma and loss by making and playing music, while enhancing their skills to communicate and express themselves.
Launching the project in the Azraq camp for Syrian refugees, Jordanian pianist Zade Dirani, the Unicef regional ambassador for Middle East and North Africa, said engaging the children in playing musical instruments helps them learn something new and gives them hope, while drawing smiles on their faces.
Syrian mothers appreciate the programme’s arrival in the camp.
“On the day the programme was launched, my son Samer came to me asking me to buy him a small piano. Samer goes to school, but he spends most of his time after school doing nothing…I think playing music can help him learn something new,” Salwa Assad, Samer’s mother, told 7Dnews. “This is an amazing programme and I hope many more children can benefit from it,” she said.
Aysha Mahmoud, a Syrian mother of three, said she was overwhelmed when she heard about the programme.
“Children in the camp do not have many activities to do. We live in the middle of the desert and enabling children to learn how to play music can make them feel good and optimistic,” she told 7Dnews.
“As a mother, I am always concerned and want the best for my kids, especially since they have not forgotten the miseries they have been through since we left Daraa in 2012. Many of their relatives were killed and they saw blood and destruction. I hope this programme will draw the needed smiles on their faces,” she said.
Hussein Khuzaie, associate professor of sociology, said music therapy is being increasingly used to treat the vulnerable and victims of wars.
“Music can help children communicate better, use their imagination and think positively…It is a new approach to address the anxieties among children,” he told 7Dnews.
Areej Hammoudeh, a teacher of arts at a public school in Tabarbour in Amman, said: “Children enjoy art and music classes the most.”
“Using music can help students learn, interact with each other and communicate. When there is interaction and when children feel comfortable, this is a positive energy that can help them get over any sad memories,” Hammoudeh told 7Dnews.
According to Unicef, around 65% of children who take part in music therapy in Jordan have shown progress in terms of participation, ability to wait and take turns, decision-making and the ability to express themselves confidently.