Musicians Without Borders‘ mission is to use music as a means to address the needs of societies divided and affected by conflict. Last October we supported Ahmad Alazzeh, Palestinian nonviolence trainer and project manager for Musicians Without Borders’ partner program Sounds of Palestine, and Yasmin Alatrash, music workshop leader and double bass teacher for Sounds of Palestine to participate in the Training of Trainers program in Amsterdam. We are delighted to have developed this partnership. Today we share with you their experience about the program:
From 17-27 October, Musicians Without Borders invited Ahmad Alazzeh, Palestinian nonviolence trainer and project manager for Musicians Without Borders’ partner program Sounds of Palestine, and Yasmin Alatrash, music workshop leader and double bass teacher for Sounds of Palestine, to the Netherlands for our annual staff training and Training of Trainers. Their visit coincided with the premiere of a documentary that captured the journey of a group of young cellists in Sounds of Palestine who traveled to the Netherlands to participate in last year’s Cello Biennale.
We are grateful to the Rabbani Foundation for covering the costs associated with their travel to the Netherlands.
Staff Training: On 18-19 October, Ahmad and Yasmin both participated in a two-day staff training, covering information on safeguarding personnel and program participants, including bullying and harassment policy training, traumainformed curriculum as used in our training programs, as well as coaching and feedback methods.
Little Stars of Bethlehem premiere: On 19 October, Ahmad & Yasmin attended the premiere of Little Stars of Bethlehem at the EYE cinema, documenting their trip to last year’s Cello Biennale along with a group of young cellists in the Sounds of Palestine program. The film was shown again for a private audience at our Training of Trainers, after which Ahmad and Yasmin had the chance to speak personally about their experience. The documentary can be seen here (for Dutch television subscribers).
Training of Trainers: From 20-25 October, Ahmad and Yasmin took part in our Training of Trainers program, in which a core team of MWB trainers delivered training to 16 musicians and experienced music workshop leaders from around the world. The training is an in-depth course to gain skills in training community music leaders based on Musicians Without Borders’ principles and methodology, exploring concepts related to nonviolence and trauma awareness.
Ahmad delivered two sessions to the group about his work in Palestine and about nonviolence theory, walking the group through practical exercises and discussion. Yasmin took part in the training as a participant so that she could incorporate these skills into her ongoing teaching and workshops in Palestine.
Feedback on the experience:
Yasmin Alatrash: “This trip was really amazing. The ToT gave me a great experience in my life I learned a lot from everyone especially from the trainers. Also the feedback the I got from the trainers and the trainees helped me a lot to improve myself and my work with children here. They gave me a great power to continue what I’m doing here with children and the activities that we used and learned in the training made me trust myself more. So I would like to thank the Rabbani and MwB and every one who helped in making this trip and training happen.”
Ahmad Alazzeh: “This trip has been another moon shine in my career that really helped me to believe more in what we are doing, the nonviolence training session I gave, energized me to to work harder in the field of nonviolence, as well as the evaluation that I got, made me more confident that this work must continue, the feedback I got from the trainees and the trainers in this trip, made the whole trip as a wonderful experience, I never had such at least for the past few years of my life. So I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Rabbani and MwB and every one who helped in making this trip happen.”
Feedback on Ahmad (from our trainees):
“To get to know the project led by Ahmad was very important in the sense that it was a way to see the MWB methodology and philosophy in a real situation. Very important that we could ask questions to them so we could see how it works from the point of view of the people that are the closest possible to the reality.”
“Ahmad’s presentation was reassuring and made me feel hopeful – that small steps can create big changes and I felt more confident to engage with conflict affected populations by sharing their experience.”
“The stories of Ahmad (and others!!) made me humble: they’re doing such a great job with all their energy and courage and non-violent behaviour.”