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 1,000 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.

Meet the Students


Halik is from Tamale, Ghana, and has been attending the Bizung School of Music and Dance... more


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


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


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


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


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


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


Jane's father is a farmer and her mother is a trader, and she has 8 siblings (5 sisters... more


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


Kritika is eleven years old and one of two children; their father is the village priest... more


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


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


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


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


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


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


Pratibha feels that she has learned many things about music and feels extremely proud... more


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


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


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


Both of Bakari's parents are farm workers, so he is proud to be at the music school,... more


Bintou enjoys being a balafon students because she feels connected to her family's... more


Boubacar comes from a farming family and is following in his father and grandfather's... more


Fanta's parents are both farmers and her father has always told her "it was very... more


Fousseni is currently taking tama (drum) classes, but being at the school has taught him... more


Kancou is taking dance classes at l'�cole De Musique De Kirina in Mali and describes her... more


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


Nadjo's ancestral line is that of balafon players, so he is proud to be carrying on the... more


One of Niakalemba's favorite things about being a djembe and dance student at l'Ecole de... more


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


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


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


Folk is studying drums and ranat (a type of xylophone in Thailand) which makes him very... more


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


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


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


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


Meet Utsav Nepal. He has been blind since birth. We met at the Early Rehabilitation... more


Meet Rachana. An amazing talent that brings the house down with every performance at... more