By Alice Seeley
Published On March 12, 2021
The Olive Tree Center in Madaba, Jordan offers several different types of therapy and classes including music therapy and lessons to the refugee community, as music is a wonderful tool for healing. Many refugees have witnessed horrific events or lost loved ones and are frequently afraid to ask for help because people with mental health problems are often stigmatized in the Middle East. Many have benefited greatly from the therapy offered at the Olive Tree Center, music being the most popular among the youth at the center. The music lessons at the Center are taught by Daniel, a 23-year-old Jordanian.
“There are so many healing benefits to music,” Daniel explained. “At the Olive Tree Center, we can see that impact directly. So many of the students have gone through a lot of tough times as refugees, and music helps them process that, and get release from it – it brings them peace.” When asked about what he enjoys most about the center he said: “It’s been amazing to work with refugees who are so talented but have had their lives disrupted by hardship and displacement. They haven’t had the opportunity to learn music before so seeing how happy that makes them and to see how talented so many are is very rewarding for me. Some of my students, like Andi, are extremely talented, but have never had the chance until now to actualize that talent. I’m excited to see him as he continues to practice and progress!” Andi, the student Daniel is referring to, is an 18-year-old refugee from Qaraqosh, Iraq. When ISIS destroyed Christians’ homes and businesses in Iraq in 2017, Andi fled to Jordan with his parents where they received support through the Olive Tree Center in Madaba.
Andi is beyond grateful for the opportunity to take music lessons! “Music helps take my stress away, when I am here and able to play, I feel very happy. I love the Olive Tree Center,” he said. “I love music and I have always dreamed of learning to play the piano. I get the chance to learn music here. I look forward each week to piano classes at the Center, it’s my favorite part of each day.”
Before music lessons began at the center, Andi did not know how to read music and would learn new songs by listening and memorizing them. Now that there are music lessons available, Andi has learned how to read music and is extremely skilled at the piano! In his spare time, he enjoys finding new songs to learn on YouTube. Andi is just one of many children that are benefiting from music lessons at the Olive Tree Center thanks to your generosity!
American FRRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East.