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Sonido del Movimiento: Mixing Art, Music, and Development

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QUETZALTENANGO – If you read about Guatemala in the United Nations’ World Food Programme reports, you’ll find that the country has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world, one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters, and has high rates of poverty (especially in Indigenous Communities). Because of this, the country is also filled with many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), most of which focus on nutrition, education, and economic impact. But what about other types of NGOs that focus on development, community building, and empowering families to cope with the impact that these inequalities bring?

Sonido del Movimento (SDM) is an NGO which focuses on filling this gap. Their mission is “to use music and dance with children in the Americas, especially Central America, to provide tools of resiliency, and ability for expression, and community building.” Revolution English interviewed Patricia Gomez, the Chair of the board of SDM to find out more about SDM and their end-of-year show which took place this month.

“Sonido del Movimiento is one of the few non-profits in Quetzaltenango that focuses on music and dance, especially with children, but we also incorporate the art community in or events and workshops.”

Their model is based off of studies that demonstrate the developmental and neurological impacts of art therapy, music, and dance.

“Art is so fundamental in growth and helps kids with a lot more than people realize. It doesn’t only help with self-expression but can also aid with social behaviors, community building, resiliency, and self-esteem.”

SDM partners with local organizations and musicians to give classes and lessons to children in schools and after-school programs. One of their partners in Caras Alegres, a nonprofit serving at-risk children through arts, crafts, sports, dance, and other workshops.

“This year, we have seen improved results in the kid’s school evaluations and we are so pleased that the program is helping their performance in other subjects.” 

The year of programs and classes culminates in a final show, Sonido de las Estrellitas (Sound o the Little Stars”. 

This year’s third annual event took place on November 2nd in the historic district of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in the community center called Casa Noj.

“Sonido de las Estrellitas this year was so significant for all of us involved. This was the first year that the kids part of our program performed what they learned in class.”

The event included violin performances, dancing, singing, and guitar from students of all ages.

“They were so nervous, but so excited at the same time. When they were done with the performance you could see their eyes were full of pride and accomplishment.”

The audience was composed of teachers, family members, and community members who wanted to support one of the only spaces where the children can show off how much they’ve learned over the year.

“It was a beautiful moment for everyone there and I think we all left inspired and recharged. The event was definitely a reassurance that everything we do, plan and go through is well worth it and needed in the community.”

Elizabeth Frank is a Freelance Writer at Revolution English. Elizabeth currently reports from Guatemala and writes about news in Latin America for immigrants in the U.S. Prior to Revolution English, Elizabeth taught English in Guatemala for three years.