Vulnerable youth take part in orchestra – MissionNewswire
Don Bosco Róga Children’s and Youth Symphony Orchestra supports 250 young musicians
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Róga, an educational center located in Asunción, Paraguay, supports more than 2,000 young people in vulnerable situations. One of its projects is the Don Bosco Róga Children’s and Youth Symphony Orchestra for 250 young people. The project was launched in 2003 with the support of international organizations.
Initially the program was set up for young people living in the Salesian center, but over time it has spread to the whole community. The project is led by a team of 27 educators and professionals and is aimed at young people aged 8 to 25. The project welcomes people of all ages and currently has two people aged 73 and 76.
The teachers teach 26 instruments including violin, cello, flute, oboe, bassoon, trumpet and symphonic percussion. Singing, dancing and theater lessons are also offered Monday to Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Although the lessons focus on music, many life skills are taught in the program. A Salesian said: “Our goal is not to train exceptional musicians, but to be a tool to save human lives.
Mary, 14, has been with the orchestra for six years. “I signed up because I had learning issues and was told that when you study music you get smarter and it really helps me perform better, both in school and in society. I play the violin and the cello. Manuel, 11, explained that he is happy to belong to the orchestra as he saw his sister play the violin from an early age and wanted to be part of the group.
The project is free for those who want it. Renan Reckziegel, artistic director of the orchestra, explained: “Our will is to continue to progress in the balance between the technical-musical and human and Christian development of all the beneficiaries. We want every young person to develop their musical skills and apply them to life and their environment.
The orchestra plays symphonic, classical, folk, popular and Andean music. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he would organize more than a dozen concerts and meetings with other musical groups of young people. He has collected several national and international awards, and recorded several albums.
The pandemic has put the project on hold for now because classes must be held online and not all children can follow. The goal is to resume the project when it is safe to do so.
Salesian missionaries have been working in Paraguay since the establishment of a church in Asunción in 1896. Paraguay is one of the poorest countries in South America. According to UNICEF, nearly 23% of its population of 6.5 million live in poverty and earn less than a dollar a day. The gap between the small upper class and the large lower class is extreme and offers virtually no social mobility.
Poverty conditions push young people into early work and the lack of literacy, in addition to a weak educational base, exacerbates the problem. People experiencing poverty face overcrowding, poor quality housing and lack of access to basic household services. Paraguayans who only complete primary school are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who access and complete secondary school.
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UNICEF – Paraguay
World Bank – Paraguay