Haitian Kids Matter

240 Flutes depicts the transportation of donated musical instruments from our headquarters in New York to Cite Soleil School of Music and Timoun Yo Se Espwa Ayiti (Children Are Haiti's Hope) Orphanage in Haiti.

Cite Soleil School of Music

Local Haitians founded the very first music school in Cite Soleil in 2006 as an alternative to the violence and poverty that ravages Cite Soleil on a daily basis.

School teacher Marcel Jean wanted to replace guns with saxophones. Having grown up in Cite Soleil himself, Marcel Jean wanted to to combat the daily traumatic experience of poverty and gang violence with music and song. He wanted to inspire kids with music and to use music education to foster peace and healing with the hopes of encouraging kids to choose a better route. That’s when he came up with the idea to start Cite Soleil School of Music in one of the most impoverished slums on the western hemisphere just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Cite Soleil School of Music soon became the lifeblood of over 240 children.

Léogâne School of Music

Give Kids Your Instruments believes that kids need music, especially those growing up in crisis areas, because music helps to heal from trauma.

Our objective was to bring a shipment of musical instruments to the music school. Unfortunately, prior to our arrival, the children and faculty of the Cite Soleil School of Music were held up at gunpoint by local armed gang members and the initial musical instruments were confiscated. In order to keep the kids safe from such gang activity, the music school was moved to Léogâne, outside of Cite Soleil.

 

After a long journey, we successfully brought 240 flutes to all the 240 kids at the new music school in Léogâne, along with 20 extra musical instruments for the music school itself, including: trumpets, saxophones, an accordion, some violins, a guitar, and an array of African percussion.

Timoun Yo Se Espwa Ayiti

Timoun Yo Se Espwa Ayiti (Children Are Haiti’s Hope) Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti, is home to over a dozen children who lost their parents in the earthquake of 2010.

We visited Timoun Yo Se Espwa Ayiti (Children Are Haiti’s Hope) Orphanage in Carrefour to meet the beautiful children who lost their parents in the earthquake of 2010. We gave them their own flutes and their excitement was priceless.

THE KIDS
THE STAFF

Haiti Scholarship Association

We sat down with the staff of Haiti Scholarship Association and discussed the numerous projects they are involved in: from the primary schools and music school to the feed-a-kid-a-day program and annual medical check up program that HSA coordinates.

Give Kids Your Instruments

We see art as foundational to social change. And we are moved beyond words when we see the tremendous effect music and arts therapy and education has on children living in areas emerging from conflict.

Give Kids Your Instruments gets music and art to kids who need it most. As an organization, our goal is to foster creative learning environments for young people in underserved communities to explore and harness the healing power of music and art.

A. We secure creative resources, such as musical instruments and art supplies, for kids growing up in lower-income communities and areas emerging from conflict.

B. We facilitate in structuring and/or conducting culturally-modified trauma-focused art therapy and/or educational sessions: from drawing and painting, theater and dance, to songwriting and ensemble workshops, recording sessions and live performances.

C. We advocate for music and arts therapy and education for all young people, especially children who a have survived traumatic experiences, such as: abuse, war, poverty, loss of loved ones, illness, etc.

1. Music & The Art:

Clearly, these kids also need food and medical attention, and you cannot eat a saxophone – but a saxophone can help us in less visible ways.

Music helps us deal with the dissonance in our lives. The simple act of blowing through a saxophone creates a safe space to reflect upon and express oneself, and this in turn strengthens our sense of self-reliance and feeling of belonging.

The kids at the Cite Soleil School of Music create a community of support for each other and this inspires and motivates them in the present while impacting the cultural life of Haiti in the long run.

2. Collaborative Partnerships 

Give Kids Your Instruments partners with NGOs, schools, community boards, and orphanages to help project manage music and arts programs for young people.

3. Accountable Research & Reciprocity 

Develop accountability with local communities and transparency with the international community.

Research the importance of art in cultural development and the effect arts therapy and education has on children growing up in conflict areas.

Haiti is a place of extremes. We visited some of the saddest places imaginable and some of the most beautiful places imaginable. But what we noticed more than anything is the strength of the Haitian people, the pride they have for their country, and the unwavering aspirations of young people.

 

This project may have been about bringing 240 flutes, but the trajectory is to foster sustainable and creative community initiatives in areas emerging from conflict.