Today I want to share an article from UNHCR about a refugee orchestra in Chile called Fundación Música para la Integración or Music for Integration Foundation.
Since 2014, there has been an 8,000% increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking refugee status in surrounding countries due to the violence, poverty, and lack of essential services in their home country. One of those refugees was Ana Marvez, a music teacher who fled to Chile in 2016. Venezuela is home to one of the prestigious music education programs, but the majority of musicians were forced to flee, leaving them to find miscellaneous jobs, unrelated to music, in their host countries. Marvez recognized that their talents were going to waste, so she organized the Music for Integration Foundation (MIF). Not only does the MIF have an orchestra and choral ensemble built of refugees and migrants, but they also offer music lessons to children in Santiago, Chile, where the foundation is based. Marvez said to the UNHCR that, "A lot of [the musicians] were very lonely, very blue and very depressed, and just being around other musicians helped change that." Even when COVID hit, they still held online fundraisers and virtual music lessons to raise money for refugee musicians who were struggling with food insecurity.
I love seeing the incredible, musical improvements refugees continue to bring to our society, and I am excited to see what the Music for Integration Foundation does in the future!
Link to article: https://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2021/3/604656734/displaced-choir-leader-founds-refugee-orchestra-chile.html