BUY ONE GIVE ONE
- Gerald Ford
There are seven million children in Cambodia, and fifty-one percent of the population is aged under 22. Sixty to 70 percent of all Cambodian children are able to go to school, but many repeat the first grade at least twice and drop out by the second grade. Most of the dropouts are girls. For those who are able to stay in school, 0% have music in their classrooms.
In many parts of the world it is normal for school and music to be compulsory for all children over the age of five until they are in their teens. However, in other parts of the world – like Southeast Asia – it is something that is harder to access.
So how do you create a music curriculum for an entire country’s education system? With ukuleles.
The Rhythm & Reason Initiative has officially launched in Cambodia, and our goal is to change the way music is taught in Cambodian schools. We, along with music education advocates, strongly believe in the value of music in education and believe it should be valued equally alongside reading, writing and numeracy in school curricula. Research has shown that music education improves cognitive abilities, enhances academic achievement and promotes wellbeing. If children are exposed to a musical instrument before the age of 7, they have an enhanced ability to learn, to take in information and to learn new concepts.
The problem is that less than 1 percent of the Cambodian population owns a musical instrument at home, and 0% of Cambodian schools teach music in the classroom.
With your help, our Buy One, Give One program will change this. Each and every ukulele kit sold will contribute to putting a school teacher in Cambodia through our ukulele course.
The 10-week program not only educates teachers on how to play the ukulele, it also teaches them how to maintain it so that the instrument – and subsequent musical curriculum – becomes a sustainable part of the Cambodian school system. Teachers are taught how to re-string and look after ukuleles before they bring the instrument back to their class.
Our goal is to get this program, a ukulele, and a musical program implemented into every school in Cambodia.
“We tried to think of what the kids really need, and that’s education, and the ukulele can be used as a tool for that.
“What we’re doing with Tuk Tuk for Children right now is working to make lyrics and translate them to Khmer, and then record them and have gestures and videos as well as a whole library where teachers can just play it and follow it. But at the same time we don’t to have that negative affect where we’re losing that personalized touch from teachers, so we’re working with schools and teachers to developed a customized and authentic curriculum. We’ll help record the songs, and we’re using the ukulele and other instruments to help get these songs into classrooms,” Marcus Wheelan, chief Volun-uker at Bondi Ukuleles said.