Playing For Change Foundation grew out of a common belief that music has the power to connect people regardless of their differences. Founded in 2007, PFCF was established to create positive change through music and arts education. Our work engages marginalized youth in diverse communities around the world, primarily located in low and lower-middle income countries. These communities are home to great cultural wealth, which we use to create educational and social opportunities.
We currently operate 15 music programs in 11 countries, and have positively impacted more than 40,000 lives since 2007, including more than 3,000 youth through regular programming in 2019. We employ more than 200 staff, teachers, and community leaders locally across program locations, including: Mali, Morocco, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Each program serves anywhere from 50 – 900 children. PFCF was honored to be named a Polar Music Prize winner in 2019.
Changing the world through music requires localized knowledge, outreach, and vision. Our programs are organized to combat systematic social and economic disparity, as well as disparity intensified by crisis. Across many PFCF communities, our programming serves as the only access point to cultural and creative educational activities. These activities drive youth, community, and gender development, cultural preservation, social cohesion, and the promotion of social identities regardless of ethnicity, caste, class, and economic statuses.
We identify strong local leaders, primarily cultural actors, and empower them with the resources and strategies to drive positive change in their communities. This includes providing financial support, leadership development and human resource support, material capacity development, networking, educational resources and curriculum development, operational guidance, and emergency support, among other strategic factors. Local leadership is in the best position to determine how to realize this approach through programming.
Science has shown that learning music benefits people on many different levels. From enhancing cognitive capacities for children, teens and adults to helping memory, literacy, creativity, self confidence and collaboration skills, the power of music has already been demonstrated by hundreds of scientific studies.
One of our main goals is to provide the communities we serve the opportunity for economic and social development, through the educational and artistic activities that we develop. In order to foster sustainability, both locally and globally, we strive to establish valuable partnerships and collaborate with other organizations.
Our work also extends beyond music and arts education as we support essential needs for the communities we serve by providing emergency supplies, medical care or humanitarian support.