Our mission is to transform the lives of war impacted children and adolescents through locally-run, youth-led music education programs.
As the refugee crisis around the globe hits unprecedented levels, the Shropshire Music Foundation is striving to improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable citizens through music. Since 1999, the organization has brought its programs to 20,000 children and taught 95,000 classes.
Responding to the needs of our target population and expert findings, our programs are designed to meet these objectives:
Address participants’ war-related and poverty-related emotional trauma and developmental needs.
- Provide consistent, long-term music education that includes daily practice and opportunities for performance
- Provide free instruments and all class materials
- Provide structured opportunities for play, learning, group interaction, self-discipline, and self-expression
- Provide a positive emotional outlet to youth and children through songs and activities
- Provide a safe place for children to feel love and belonging
- Provide hope and meaning in a post-war culture of indifference, apathy and hopelessness
Establish volunteer and leadership opportunities for youth to gain skills for future employment.
- Generate opportunities for tangible accomplishment
- Empower youth volunteers to become positive local role models for children
- Build problem-solving and cognitive skills
- Develop professional communication skills
- Teach punctuality, accountability, preparation and responsibility and integrity
Reduce vulnerability to extremist group participation and human trafficking. Prevent youth violence, crime, and drug and alcohol abuse.
- Create positive peer networks
- Provide positive role models
- Incorporate drug and alcohol prevention in curriculum
- Provide diversionary educational and cultural programs
- Empower youth to develop a positive identity through shared experiences and friendship
- Help youth recognize that as they change the lives of the children they teach, they have the power to change their communities and the world
Cultivate tolerance, empathy, and socialization among hostile communities
- Create opportunities for communication, cooperation, and understanding among ethnic, religious, and divided communities
Unique program backed by research and expert findings
In a study measuring the success of The Shropshire Music Foundation's effect on the mental health of refugee children published in the American Psychological Association's Traumatology Journal, entitled, Children After War: A novel approach to promoting resilience through music, researchers discovered the following:
- Children who participated in the program reported reduced symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Overall, children who participated in the program at least 1 year evidenced fewer affective and cognitive disturbances than children recently enrolled.
- The results of the correlation analyses demonstrated that students who had been in the program longest exhibited the fewest signs of emotional, psychological, and cognitive disruption.
- Cognitive stimulation, promotion of attention and focus through the process of learning musical instruments and songs, social support from peers in a nontraditional classroom setting, the community-sustained infrastructure, and/or the message of peace and communal unity promoted by the program leaders likely all contribute to the outcomes evidenced by this study
Also among the documented results of our programming are significantly improved rates of secondary school completion and college attendance. Among our Kosovo youth volunteers, for example, 100% complete primary and secondary school, as compared to fewer than 40% of children in Kosovo at large. More than 90% of our Kosovo volunteers went on to attend college, as compared to 33% of high school graduates across Kosovo.