In Australia, music teacher Philip Feinstein has been working to bring the joy of the arts to refugees since 2009 through his organization, Music for Refugees. Music for Refugees was first launched in the Villawood Detention Center which houses immigrants and refugees who arrive in Australia without visas. After reaching out to the surrounding community and asking for donations, Mr. Feinstein was able to get pianos and other instruments in all sections of the detention center. Coming off that success, the organization expanded to locations across Australia, operating in Manus Island, Christmas Island, Nauru, and more. Similarly to HeartBEATS, Music for Refugees solicits donations of musical instruments from people across Australia and then shares those with newly arrived refugees who were unable to bring their instruments with them. Music for Refugees also hosts music classes and "jam sessions" at the detention centers as a way to foster hope and friendship. Mr. Feinstein says that, "Refugees have a large amount of stress, and music helps refugees to ease that stress." He emphasizes the importance of bringing music education to those detention centers because refugees living there are unable to leave or receive any kind of education or form of entertainment. Recently, and prior to COVID-19, Music for Refugees brought their work to the Burundian refugees living in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. Additionally, on Valentine's Day 2019, they drove up to the city of Auburn and handed out free musical instruments to any refugees walking by. HeartBEATS is grateful for the work Music for Refugees is doing in Australia, and we can't wait to see what else they accomplish!
If you would like to learn more about Music for Refugees, you can visit their website: https://www.musicforrefugees.org/index.html or follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Music-for-Refugees-1500789130197574/