Developed and undertaken by the Moms Against Poverty in Cambodia, the “Music Wellness Workshop” program, reinvents the meaning of social work by engaging struggling teens in therapeutic, creative interests.
Often due to the high cost of the equipment and private instructions, in third world or developing countries pursuing creative arts such as: music, painting, videography and photography are only available to the wealthy class.
Additionally, if an individual wants to pursue a career in these fields, they often have to obtain a higher degree such as a Masters in Arts which requires years of discipline and study. All this makes it difficult for young disadvantaged individuals with various challenges, short attention spans, lack of supervision and self-discipline to be able to pursue these fields.
Thus, MAP’s central goal when implementing these creative activities in Cambodia was to attempt to circumvent the two previously mentioned barriers, financial maintenance, and the rigorous curriculum. Our Music Wellness Program functions and promotes creativity through a simple, entertaining and fun learning method. We provide the equipment and instruments needed for the classes readily available to the children and allow them to experiment fostering their creativity and allowing them to feel joy rather than fear of not being good enough.
Based on our experience working with “struggling teenagers”, we have seen that their trauma is mostly expressed through aggression. Our program in turn combines music with creative activities like sports. This helps the children release trauma, negative emotions and heal through exercise, music and creative activities.
We design these activities with the goal that they not only emotionally heal but that they also obtain an applicable vocational skill for Digital Media jobs.
Following the positive impact that these workshops have had on the lives of many teenagers, various organizations had shown interest in cooperating with MAP. Notably, the Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD). The first collaboration between MAP Cambodia and forumZF, was a discussion panel on gender equality held at the Buddhist University in Battambang and in Phnom Penh, as well as collaborating with the production of a music video for Khmer Musician Variety Geneva. MAP Cambodia and forumZF wrote a concept paper analyzing the framework and potential theories surrounding the “Music Wellness Workshops”, to create a guideline for future activities with similar target groups and in locations all around the world.
Here is a testimonial from them: “We at forumZFD Cambodia were very impressed by the commitment of the team of MAP Cambodia and their work with young people who experienced challenges and conflicts at an early stage of their life. forumZFD had the chance to learn more about MAP Cambodia´s experience and program. Now we are happy that both our organizations look into further possibilities on how to support young people to transform conflicts in a non-violent and creative way for the benefit of themselves and their community.” Visal Sorn, Anselm Kanwischer, Chandara Phann
If you’d like to support this program and our work in Cambodia, please click here and donate.