Letter from Liz

December 28, 2010 | By wickley wickley

Thank you so much for all of your help this year.  I know it’s been a really hard year, and I can’t even express how much I appreciate the sacrifices you have made to keep supporting us.

Catholic and Protestant Children Together for Music Class, Belfast 2005

We have big plans for 2011 and we will reach them thanks to you.  Our biggest news is that I will be returning to Belfast in February to re-open our Northern Ireland programs.  For the first time ever, we have local centers, both Protestant and Catholic who have already organized themselves together to host our program bringing the Catholic and Protestant children together for music classes. They are excited about their children coming to know each other as they learn music together in our music classes, and they have volunteers ready to be trained so that they can become the teachers of these classes and grow the program. This is all because of you.

Children Preparing Molotov Cocktails to Throw at Police, Belfast 2010

2010 was an incredibly violent year in N Ireland.  The summer was filled with riots.  Soldiers and Policemen were killed for the first time in many years.  What was unique about the riots of 2010 was the participation of so many children.  They rioted alongside the adults.  Since the summer, bombs have been placed in schools and other places where children would be hit.  We are needed in N Ireland more than ever before, and you are sending us there.

Burim with Pabo IDP Camp Singing Class, Uganda, 2007

Burim is headed back to Uganda in February.  We planned to send him last October but due to health problems we had to postpone his trip.  Our Ugandan Youth Volunteers have really struggled to keep our programs going without either Burim or I being there, and I’m so proud of them for all the hard work they have done.   Burim and the Youth Volunteers will be establishing new programs for former child soldiers and the children who have recently lost their homes due to the IDP camp closures.  They really need us there, and it is because of you that we are able to keep going back.  Thank you.

Boys Harmonica Class, Kosovo IDP Camp, 1999

We hope to be working with war-affected children in another country by the end of the 2011/2012 school year.  Among the countries we are considering to next

take our program to is Jordan, where there are many Iraqi Refugee Camps.  These Iraqi children really need the peace, self-esteem, and hope that our music programs bring.  The goal will be to both teach the children and train the teenagers as Youth Music Teachers so that when these families are able to return to Iraq they will take our program with them and we will be able to reach even more Iraqi children.

I just read an article about an 11-year-old Pakistani boy who dreamed of being a suicide bomber.  He

wanted this more than anything in the world.  He was extremely fortunate in that he was saved from this and didn’t do it.

Kosovo Youth Volunteers with Children in Singing Class, 2010

But so many children RIGHT NOW are being taught that their greatest value is to be a human bomb.  Not to grow up and live a good life and help others.  Just to kill themselves now and to kill as many others as they can.  These children truly believe that their lives don’t matter.  That they can’t change anything, or fix anything.  That hatred is more valuable than love.  That fear is reason to act.

Kosovo Youth Volunteers Playing Game with IDP Camp Children, 2010

This is the opposite of what we teach.  Every child who enters our music classes is taught from the very first class that he or she is important. That they can make a difference.  That they can change the world.  And most importantly, that we love them.  One of my favorite things is seeing one of our Teenage Youth Volunteers interact with the children in their music classes.  They reach out to the children who are struggling and show them that even if something is difficult, they can learn it.  These teenagers learn to love the children in their classes, and the children know it.

 

Burim Teaching Singing Class in Uganda IDP Camp, 2007

I want you to know that you ARE our programs.  You made them possible.  You make them work.  If not for your support, we would have finished long, long ago.  You are reaching so many children.  You are teaching peace.  You are giving hope.  You are giving love to children who get it from no place else.

Every $5 you donate means another instrument for another child.  Every $50 means a child receives an instrument, music, and music classes for a year.   $100 gives instruments to an entire class.  $1,000 gives music, instruments, and classes to a full class of children for an entire year.

Ugandan Youth Volunteer with Children in Singing Class, 2009

We need $40,000 to reach our goal of $50,000 for our winter and spring programs in Uganda, Kosovo, and N Ireland.  This will enable us to reach so many more children.  To save so many more children.

Thank you so much for everything you have done.  Thank you for making all of this happen.  Thank you for continuing to make this the extraordinary program it has become.

With much love,

Liz Shropshire, Founder and International Program Director