I’m Christina from Kaya’s Placement team and you may not know this, but I work from Ecuador! Working from a foreign country gives me the unique opportunity to see the progress of our Kaya partnerships in-person. The success of these placements and the overall effect they have on the volunteers/interns that participate is amazing to observe. It truly demonstrates the importance of working to match people to the placements best suited for them. It’s also inspiring to see the work being accomplished at our projects by the local staff and volunteers alike.
I recently went to a concert put on by our Integrated Music, Dance and Art Therapy for Children with Special Needs placement. Some of the students are part of an orchestra, while others are dancers that entertain through choreographed routines to go along with the music. It is incredible to see the impact that the arts have had on these students’ self-esteems and abilities. Blind students were playing clarinets and flutes without sheet music and with total confidence. Students with Down’s syndrome danced to multiple routines with costume changes between pieces.
Though having to remember lots of different choreography, these students danced with enthusiasm and passion. Their pride and excitement was infectious and in the audience we found ourselves immersed in their steps, clapping and smiling along.
The concert included the performance of a German orchestra composed of adults with special needs. Their orchestra had been awarded the honor of “Messengers of Peace” by UNESCO and they were traveling and giving concerts to promote that idea. Though he did not speak Spanish, the German conductor requested a translator so that he could congratulate and express his awe of the Ecuadorian group. He was so impressed by the spirit with which the group played that he promised to write to UNESCO and recommend the same award to be granted to the Ecuadorians.
In the end, the two orchestras joined together to play the last pieces. It was incredible to see that people from different worlds, speaking different languages and struggling with different disabilities could come together through the power of the arts.
If you would like to volunteer on the project, or any of our other projects, then please feel free to contact myself or another member of the Kaya team by requesting a call back or more information!