Lou Rawls said “music is the greatest communication in the world. Even if people can’t understand the language you’re singing in, they know good music when they hear it.”
This is the basis of Playing for Change Foundation - an idea that music transcends languages connects us and allows everyone to express themselves in a relatable way, no matter the person’s country, background or experiences.
When I first joined Khlong Toey Music Program (KTMP), founded by the wonderful Gigi, I was amazed at how music can inspire hope, joy and focus into a group of children whose home lives and community were not always the safest, or most loving. Music gave the children an outlet, a way to work through their emotions and KTMP gave the children a safe place to be, where they are cared for and supported.
Then, throughout the years, I have seen KTMP include English and Art into their learning and I saw the impact games and other creative outlets allowed the children to grow further. I saw that not only music can inspire communication, but all the Arts and any interactivity will give people a voice.
Gigi had discussed the idea of connecting all the PFCF programs around the world, so we started the project ‘Creative Wonderers’ (it took a while to create a name which communicated our idea, but wasn’t already in use!). This project was made with the purpose of connecting children and people around the world, through the Arts. At first, our children exchanged some letters with the children at Imvula; however, not all children around the world are able to communicate in English. Therefore, we decided to use Art as a way to connect people. Gigi & I discussed a few ideas, along with KTMP Art teacher Nice, and came up with the idea of making ‘art squares’.
Each program was invited to join in with this project, and many responded positively, showing enthusiasm to join with all the PFC programs. The idea was to get children/students from each program to produce a square piece of art, using any materials available to their program. The response was wonderful, even with the occurrence of Covid-19, we managed to gather 72 pieces of artwork from 8 different programs around the world.
These art squares will be printed and sent to each participating program, to show how they have come together to share in a common project around the globe. It was lovely to see so many people enthusiastic about this project and the programs’ responses were great to hear!:
“This is an amazing project because we can easily learn their thoughts and interests. We have to keep this up in different ways.”, “It is an amazing opportunity for our students to show the world about their arts and culture.”, "It was easy to complete this project.”, “We had the materials we needed for the project.”
The programs are also eager to complete more projects, to connect the programs even further, through letters, interviews, and other art activities. Both myself and Gigi are extremely excited to see how this develops and we hope, with time, the programs will be connecting on a more regular basis.
“Communication leads to community, that is understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing” - Rollo May.
How wonderful will it be for us to truly and honestly say - we have a global community, which was founded on a love of Music and the Arts, in the most unexpected places