Stand By Me Scholarship Program

More than a decade ago, Playing For Change was inspired when one man, Roger Ridley, sang familiar words to a popular song: “No matter who you are. No matter where you go in life. At some point, you’re gonna need somebody to stand by you.” For Co-Founder Mark Johnson, that moment ignited a passion to use music to connect people and to create a better world.

Today, more than 700 children around the world are learning music and dance every week. This is possible because people like you are willing to Stand By Them. Stand By Me Scholarships provide funding for students to attend PFCF music programs for an entire year.

About Stand By Me Scholarships

• All scholarships are need-based and provide access for children to learn music and dance at no cost to them.
• We visit the children and their teachers each year to offer support, ensure quality education and monitor their progress.
• Children have opportunities to perform throughout the year, enhancing collaboration, self-esteem, mastery, awareness of the program and community connection.
• Students have opportunities to connect with other children and adults around the world through emails, letters, cards, photos and musical collaborations.
• Scholarship donors receive a greeting and photo from students and a video from the program annually.

Meet some of our current students; they will inspire you. Consider funding a scholarship so that these children and their classmates can experience the joy of music in their lives and they can know what it feels like to have you stand by them.

Stand By Me Scholarship Program

Meet the Students

Tar

Khlong Toey Music Program, Thailand

Tar is studying guitar, eventually he’d like to learn to play rock music.  He loves that it is…more

Min

Khlong Toey Music Program, Thailand

Min plays ukulele and melodica, but her true love is the keyboard. She had the opportunity to…more

Motoom

Khlong Toey Music Program, Thailand

Motoom plays the ukulele and melodica, and wants to starts singing more, too. She says that, "At…more

Liu

Khlong Toey Music Program, Thailand

Liu plays the melodium and flute, and is hoping to learn keyboard, violin and dance. The first…more

Folk

Khlong Toey Music Program, Thailand

Folk is studying drums and ranat which makes him very happy and gives him something to…more

Boubacar

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

His first time playing the kora was a dream come true for Boubacar, he had always wanted to…more

Bassaran

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Bassaran is a balafon and dance student. She wants to learn balafon because it is unusual for a…more

Tidiane

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Music has helped Tidiane connect with other students and realize his learning potential. He…more

Niakalemba

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

One of Niakalemba’s favorite things about being a djembe and dance student is that it is an…more

Nadjo

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Nadjo’s ancestral line is that of balafon players, so he is proud to be carrying on the legacy…more

Lassana

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Lassana is taking djembe and dance classes at our music school.  His first time playing djembe he…more

Kancou

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Kancou is taking dance classes at l'École De Musique De Kirina in Mali and describes her first…more

Fousseni

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Fousseni is currently taking taman classes, but being at the school has taught him so much more…more

Fanta

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Fanta’s parents are both farmers and her father has always told her “it was very important to be…more

Boubacar

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Boubacar comes from a farming family and is following in his father and grandfather’s musical…more

Bintou

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Bintou enjoys being a balafon students because she feels connected to her family’s history, the…more

Bakari

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Both of Bakari’s parents are farm workers, so he is proud to be at the music school, stating that…more

Moussa

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Moussa is proud to be one of the Djembe students in Kirina. His life goal is to become educated…more

Marietou

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Marietou plays the Djembe and is very excited to be among the best in her age group. Both of her…more

Depak

Udayapur Music Program, Nepal

Depak plays the flute and also loves to sing. He is very grateful for the Udayapur Music program…more

Pratibha

Udayapur Music program, Nepal

Pratibha feels that she has learned many things about music and feels extremely proud with her…more

Giopal

Udayapur Music Program, Nepal

Giopal can play the harmonium and the madal. Giopal has always enjoyed music. Before taking music…more

Jane

Star School Music & Sports Program, Rwanda

Jane’s father is a farmer and her mother is a trader, and she has 8 siblings (5 sisters and 3…more

Mphumzi

Ntonga Music School, South Africa

Mphumzi has been playing drums at the Ntonga Music School since the age of ten. He was encouraged…more

Alou

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Alou is a 16-year-old young man who studies kora at the music school. He is the grandson of the…more

Ishowri

Mitrata Music Program, Nepal

Ishowri has been living at the Mitrata Orphanage for over 8 years . She has dreams of becoming a…more

Halik

Bizung School of Music & Dance, Ghana

Halik is from Tamale, and has been attending the Bizung School of Music and Dance since 2010. He…more

Samiksha

Udayapur Music Program, Nepal

Samiksha has one brother and one sister. Her mother and father are both teachers in Katari. She…more

Chitra

Mitrata Music Program, Nepal

Chitra has 3 brothers, one sister and his father is a farmer. He loves to play flute and is…more

Nouhoum

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Nouhoum is a 15-year-old student at Ecole de Musique de Kirina, in Mali. He has studied…more

Sarju

Udayapur Music Program, Nepal

Sarju lives with his family in Tintale Village, Nepal, and has a younger brother, Suraj, who also…more

Nakani

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Nakani has seven sisters and two brothers, and her parents are both farmers in Kirina, Mali.…more

Sokona

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Sokona has 3 sisters and 2 brothers. Her father is a farmer and carpenter, and her mother is a…more

Rekha

Udayapur Music Program, Nepal

Rekha is one of three siblings, and her father is a farmer in Tintale Village, Nepal. She claims…more

Kritika

Udayapur Music Program, Nepal

 Kritika has one sibling. Her father is the priest and her mother is the leader of the Mother’s…more

Samadje

Ecole de Musique de Kirina, Mali

Samadje has two sisters and three brothers, and her father is a farmer and a musician. Her mother…more

Sharley

Hari Kul Music Program, Nepal

Sharley loves to play the keyboard and sing. She has one brother and greatly influenced by her…more

Aygo

Khlong Toey Music Program, Thailand

Aygo is a talented and spirited ukelele student at the Khlong Toey music program. She is a brave…more