Tenemos que triunfar, por nuestros sueños luchar
Un mensaje de paz llevar, vivir en unidad
Porque los buenos somos más, juntos lo podemos lograr
We have to triumph, fight for our dreams
Carry a message of peace, live in unity
Because there are more of us good people, together we can succeed
(Lyrics from ‘A Better World’ by Friends of Freedom, Healing in Harmony artists in Trujillo, Peru)
Before the COVID-19 lockdown descended on Peru in March 2020, Make Music Matter partnered with World Vision Canada and World Vision Peru to bring the Healing in Harmony program to Trujillo, a community that has seen a massive influx of Venezuelan migrants fleeing escalating political and economic instability. (According to the UNHCR, over 4 million Venezuelans have left home and Peru is hosting over 768,000 of them.) The situation has brought unique challenges and tensions that reflect a growing crisis in the region.
Through music, the Healing in Harmony team in Peru, led by therapist Belen Martel and producer Emmanuel Romero Espinoza, set out to help individuals heal from past trauma, to offer tools to communicate with family and peers more effectively, and in turn to help create more accepting and supportive communities.
12 year old ‘Ana’ (name has been changed) was one of 57 participants who graduated from the pilot program that targeted both Venezuelan and Peruvian youth. This is what Maria had to share with us about taking part in the Healing in Harmony program.
“My name is ‘Ana’, and I am from Venezuela. I came to Peru with my family, because of the critical situation that my country is passing through.
Without imagining or expecting it, I became part of a project that changed my life and the lives of those around me. At the beginning I felt a little ashamed but with time I learned to let it go. And thanks to you I have lost much of my fear of being in front of an audience, something that seemed very difficult to happen.
Perhaps, what was most difficult to me was to compose the lyrics of my song but with the help of the workshops and the techniques to express myself without fear, I managed to do it. It was a team effort.
Indeed, I liked the project so much that I brought some of my friends to support me and feel more confident. We learned and had a lot of fun. We felt relaxed in the workshops. It felt great to be there, sharing with them and learning about music.
It was a great experience to be in this project, I really liked it a lot and I also met very nice people there. I am also grateful because it was a privilege to be there and to be part of such a special project.
Without the help of people who worked there I wouldn’t have gotten this far, because thanks to you I learned not to be ashamed, to focus on and relax, to socialize, and many things I didn’t know about music. That’s why I thank you, because even though I am not of the same nationality, you treated me and my fellow Venezuelans very well.”
Artists emerging from the Healing in Harmony program in Trujillo have come together as Friends of Freedom.
Their debut album ‘Cantemos hoy (Today We Sing)’ features 19 tracks and was mastered by Paul Hird.