CHANGE FROM THE GRASSROOTS
INSPIRED BY El SISTEMA: The MAE Foundation is a well-planned effort to mobilise goodwill and resources within the musical community to make real change happen fast. It draws its inspiration from other initiatives around the world where small, targeted interventions have triggered huge change – in particular, Venezuela’s El Sistema music-teaching programme and the micro-finance movement in Asia and Africa.
INSTRUMENTS, MUSIC AND VOLUNTEER TEACHERS: The instruments the MAE Foundation provides will initially be those that untrained musicians can quickly learn to use and enjoy. They will include guitars and ukuleles, small flutes and percussion, including xylophones. With the help of a regional resource centre and volunteer music teachers visiting the camps, children and adults will be given the chance to learn, to develop new skills and to play together in groups and bands. The MAE Foundation is publishing its own songbooks, with simple, powerful musical arrangements donated by the foundation’s supporters in the composing community and songs from the refugees’ own cultures, from the region and from around the world. Instruments donated by the MAE Foundation will all be branded, to avoid the temptation for black market trading. As the instrument workshops are set up and production begins, the distinctive MAE logo on the headstock of a guitar or the mouthpiece of a whistle will be a guarantee of a well-made, affordable instrument that has already made a contribution to easing suffering in the camps and helping young people realise their potential.