HISTORY, MISSION, AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE PLAYING FOR CHANGE FOUNDATION
Playing For Change arose from a common belief that music has the power to connect people regardless of their differences. In 2005, a small group of filmmakers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream been realized, it has grown into a global sensation that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.
When the crew set out, they created a mobile recording studio and went around the world filming musicians in the places where they lived. The sound was then mixed, and although the musicians were never in the same room—or even the same country or continent—they were unified through music with each contributing her or his distinct gifts to the whole. While traveling the world to film and record, the crew got to know the music and people of each community they visited. Those involved wanted to give something back to the musicians who had shared so much with them.
In 2007, the Playing for Change Foundation was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. Our mission is to create positive change through music and arts education. As one of our students in Nepal stated, “Music is an indispensable part of life -‐ you cannot live without music.” We couldn’t agree more. At the Playing For Change Foundation, we live our lives by this principle and apply it to everything we do.
What we do
12 music schools and programs have been created in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, and Thailand. More than 1,000 young people attend free classes in dance, instruments, languages and musical theory, all taught by qualified local teachers.
Projects also help meet essential needs of the larger community, including the provision of aid such as food, clean water, medicine, clothes, books, school supplies, solar energy, computers, and other modern technology. Over 15,000 people have been impacted by the Foundation’s community development and empowerment efforts throughout our program regions and beyond.
Annual program evaluations reinforce the real and positive impact of music education and demonstrate change in action. When children play music together, collaboration increases and conflict is reduced. And critically important to children, particularly those who are vulnerable due to poverty, conflict, drugs, and neglect, is that learning music increases self-esteem and fosters resilience and joy.
- Using Music to Transform Lives and Communities: Caring adults encourage discipline, joy and personal expression through music and arts programs. Programs emphasize tolerance and shared understanding as methods for solving problems.
- Connecting People and Communities: Cameras and other technology empower individuals and communities to tell their own stories. Children in different countries and schools learn about and get to know peers who live in dramatically different regions and circumstances.
- Economic Empowerment: We use local materials and labor when building; utilize local teachers and administrative staff and provide living wages; and create opportunities for earned income through performances, and creating costumes, instruments and art for sale.
- Local Leadership: Programs are led and affirmed by local village and community leaders.
Where we're going
In 2015 we more than doubled the number of students we serve by initiating new programs in Bangladesh, a network of charter schools in the United States, and in the community of Curitiba, Brazil.
In our ongoing effort to connect the world through music, our direction has been shaped by where we have been and by those who have inspired us along the way. With this in mind, we strive to:
- Continue progress and foster sustainability with schools currently in development
- Establish valuable partnerships and collaborate with other organizations
- Expand the opportunities and resources available to communities in need
- Be an access point for various forms of aid, including clean water, electricity, and medical resources
- Create positive change through music education