Music as an opportunity for social inclusion of refugees: El Sistema Greece

Music as an opportunity for social inclusion of refugees: El Sistema Greece

El Sistema Greece is a community music project inspired by the philosophy and methodology of El Sistema in Venezuela, founded in 1975 by the Venezuelan teacher and musician José Antonio Abreu. Music education has been proven to be an incredibly effective medium for achieving long-term social change for both the children involved and their families worldwide. El Sistema Greece’s ultimate goal is to promote the social inclusion of children refugees in Greek / European society through music that becomes a platform for dialogue and unity among different communities.

In 2015 more than a million refugees reached Greece in search of a better life on the European continent. This, alongside the financial crisis, created a humanitarian challenge for the country.

Cultural organizations have committed themselves to play an important role by creating creative spaces and projects to limit discrimination and prejudice against refugees. Arts forms such as painting, theatre, dance, music, photography and cinema have been the connecting vehicle between the new life and the traditions of their country of origin. Artistic expression becomes a therapeutic process for those who face the trauma of exile and promote self-esteem, emotional intelligence and well-being.

El Sistema Greece provides daily musical activities led by Greek and foreign teachers who volunteer in refugee camps, professional musicians and internationally renowned artists.

There are several positive impacts of the project:

ARTISTIC INSPIRATION: working together to make a concert and make art together, give your talent to an audience, share an artistic inspiration. This will give perspectives and incentives to those children who find themselves in a difficult situation in the camps.

SOCIAL INCLUSION: through the connection with Athens and other Conservatories and Western organizations, children will also have the opportunity to meet and share experiences with people who do not live in the camps. This will facilitate the integration of migrants in Western communities.

POSITIVE AWARENESS OF FIELDS: give a positive view of refugee camps. The project, combining both migrants and Westerners, also reduces this gap / barrier that is created between migrants and the rest of the world.

Children refugees also find an educational program designed to develop memory skills, develop language skills, learn music, work in a team, face public performances without fear, defend traditional folk repertoires and develop new ones.

The memory and execution of the traditional popular repertoire from the refugee countries is an essential component of El Sistema Grecia.

For more information on the project, visit

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