Khlong Toey Music Program
After seeing PFC's "Stand By Me" video on YouTube in 2008, musicians Aom Amm and Gigi Nemrod were deeply inspired. Little did they know that simply viewing a video would soon change their lives in a profound way. Upon further investigation they read about the efforts of the foundation and from that moment on decided to model the same principles and initiate a music program for disadvantaged Thai children. The Khlong Toey Music program was founded in August 2012.
This is not just a music program, but a vital mission that helps build self-esteem and hope in young people, providing a sense of family and belonging for kids who might otherwise be on the street and vulnerable to the negative influences of drugs, gangs, and other harsh realities of daily life in the slum. Aom, Gigi and five teachers volunteer their time for the benefit of the Thai students. Most of the program's music instruments were contributed by generous supporters.
Thanks to the efforts of program founders, Gigi and Aom, the Khlong Toey Music Program has a home. A rented building in the Khlong Toey slum has been transformed into a vibrant music school by teachers, volunteers and students who painted the walls and contributed their own art to make it their own. The students now have a safe place to learn music, dance and enjoy being children.
Click here for more photos from the Khong Toey program on Flickr!
MEET WITH A STUDENT
Aygo is a talented and spirited ukelele student at the Khlong Toey music program. She is a brave young lady who recently told her story for an upcoming Thai PBS documentary on PFCF's efforts in Thailand.
Feb 10, 2015
Aquila Corde Supports Playing For Change
by Christine West
The wonderful people at Aquila Corde generously donated new ukelele strings to our Khlong Toey Music Program in Thailand. Daniela and Mimmo graciously reached out to Playing For Change Foundation and offered to ship us as many sets of strings as we needed. The students in Khlong Toey were very excited to receive them!
LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY
This notorious area in south Bangkok is home to about 100,000 people. People at Khlong Toey face many problems typical of a slum area. The vicious cycle of poverty also makes it hard to break from engaging in criminal activity as well as drug and alcohol dependence. With such social and financial problems, the children are often prevented from receiving a proper education.
Géraldine "Gigi" Nemrod, Co-Founder
After volunteering in Thailand for 6 months, French teacher and musician Gigi started her own project, Lullabies for Thailand, which combined her love for music with her desire to help others. When she heard about PFC, it all became clear: she wanted to create opportunities for underprivileged children to learn music in Bangkok.
Aom Amm, Co-Founder
A native of Thailand, Aom met Gigi while organizing a PFC Day event in September 2011. The two women decided to combine efforts and began collecting donated instruments and recruiting volunteer music teachers to provide music instruction and a safe environment for the many vulnerable children in the Khlong Toey slum.
Julia is a high school student at Bangkok Patana School. Her love for music stemmed from the moment she was able to sing along with a tune. At the age of 4, she attended her very first piano lesson. She teaches singing at KTMP, and would also be able to teach piano/keyboard, flute, ukelele and guitar if needed.
Jo is currently studying Music at Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, specializing in drumset and percussions and teaches drums at KTMP. He started playing when he was 13 years old. He loves music, as he feels happy when he plays. He believes music is like a very special science.
Aum started to learn music when he was 12 years old. He graduated from Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat university (Bangkok), with a major in Music, Guitar Jazz. Music is a religion for him, it’s like a place where the mind can find peace. Today he is a music teacher for KPN Music Academy.
Kristie is a highschool student at Bangkok Patana School and teaches piano at KTMP. She started learning the piano at the age of 7, and has been taught by ear. Only after several years she learnt music theory properly. With this in mind, she seeks to teach the students at KTMP piano while integrating written music into lessons.
Heart started playing music at the age of 9. At the age of 14, he saw a picture of the king playing saxophone so he decided to switch from drums to saxophone. He started to feel that music had a deeper meaning than what he previously thought. He now studies and teaches keyboard, guitar, base, and singing at KTMP.
Mun Ling is a highschool student at Bangkok Patana School and teaches singing at KTMP. At a very young age, her appreciation for music grew when she saw amazing musicians at concerts. She always aspired to be one of them. Now that she is 16, she learns to realize the power that music can bring to the world.
Melaney is a high school student at Bangkok Patana School and teaches piano at KTMP. She started playing piano at the age of four and is still playing extensively today in concerts as a solo performer and an accompanist. She says: “the journey of learning music is one that I treasure and want to share with others (...).”
Tita is a high school student at Bangkok Patana School and teaches flute at the Khlong Toey Music Program. Her relationship with music began when she took up the piano at the age of 6. She says: “(...) It is a great honour to be a teacher at the Klong Toey Music Program and support the Play for Change foundation.”