Saturday, May 17, 2008

Healing Music Peace Project with the Physically Handicapped

It's important to you to make a difference in the world. You are a person of peace. But sometimes you feel like a lonely Pollyanna? The news, the violence, the sinking dollar, the stress, make you wonder if you're hoping for some childish dream?

When you don't have others to share good with or to reflect it back to you, it's easy to feel hopeless. Yeh, I know this story all too well.

Here's a story and a video to uplift your spirits and your energy. To know that all IS good.

Healing Music Project for Physically Handicapped & Disabled Terror Victims

Last year we began a new research with Knafayim, an organization for young disabled people born with physical handicaps, injured through acts of terror, and victims of the second Lebanon War. The program last year provided an immediate means of stress relief for the handicapped youth following the war. Their participation in the scientific research project conducted during the project provided them with a sense of importance.

There have historically been very few programs available for young people with special needs after high school and NO options that encourage or facilitate their leaving home and becoming independent adults capable of running their own lives. The few programs that do exist, and which Knafayim often works with cooperatively, typically address only one aspect of the person’s needs and do not focus on self-determination and real adult freedom as a central goal. Self care, social skills development are critical needs for this group. Following the war, this is even more critical.

While the program last year was successful, it also taught us the importance of meeting within small groups to overcome the embarrassment, self consciousness, and other negative effects caused by group pressure.

This video includes people such as yourself - who have come together to increase healing good. Israel Dvir, Liane Shalev, and Shira Yaarh, three graduates of the Voices of Eden ancient healing and transformational music program and I meet with the fantastically creative and inspiring youth at the Knafayim "Wings" Program.

Tamir, a blind Ethiopian boy leads the ensemble playing darbuka. Atef, a Bedouin Arab boy has just finished playing a beautiful tune on a flute that he made himself from an old unused pipe, Dana, Nofar, and Anna play a mean rhythm section with shakers modelled after the ancient ones found in the Galillee, close to the facilities at Bustan HaGalil. James, whose brilliant mind only makes his voice sound that much brighter, when he sings, holds the energy for the entire group while we sing and play.

This year's program consists of three phases to reach the following milestones:

1. Self Care Development. Through a weekly small group meeting, students address issues related to acute post trauma.

2. Social Skills Development. Within the small group meetings, the Voices of Eden five healing music elements will be taught to the students for practice within small groups:

a. Listening Skills
b. Receptivity to others
c. Response to the other

When the students express themselves, it builds self confidence.

Here you have it folks, the birthing of a true healing music ensemble born from the ashes of war, and flying like a phoenix up towards the heavens in a chorus from the voices of Eden.

The project is sponsored by the World Trust Foundation, whose mission is to support youth by various programs, training them to be youth ambassadors of peace. Special thanks to the Herson Stirman family foundation who has supported this project from the start. Also to Susan Jeffers, best seller author of "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway", whose support in the project and my work has made a world of difference. If you would like to make a donation to this project, please go to this site, and ear mark your donation, which is tax deductible in the US for the Voices of Eden music project.

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