​​Action around Bethlehem Children with Disability


Improving the quality of life of children with disabilities across the West Bank
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Music Therapy


Music Therapy is a powerful medium which helps children who may struggle to express themselves. 

This project was initiated in 2015 by ABCD Trustee and Music Therapist, Canon Claire Tillotson, in conjunction with Paediatric Psychiatrist Dr Souha Shehadeh, who leads the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR) Mental Health Team.


ABCD's Music Therapy Programme is currently supporting:
  • the delivery of Music Therapy in a variety of settings, including the Bethlehem Arab Society for rehabilitation, Community Centres, and Schools, to different groups including indivuduals, classes, speech and language groups, family sessions
  • the salary of a Music Facilitator within the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation 
  • provide and upgrade high quality musical instruments 
  • professional development delivered through weekly supervision and specialist training
  • 10 week project delivered by qualified UK-trained music therapists run from the BASR, based in the BASR and 6 outreach community centres
These projects are run in conjunction with Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Mental Health Team at BASR. 

We aim to bring this therapy to the Refugee Camps, and to deliver two, rather than one, ten week Music Therapy projects a year. 

Badir's Story

Every Tuesday morning Badir’s mother knows that he will tell her he has ‘music with Raniya’. 

Eight months ago, Badir, a sevenand-a-half-year-old boy on the autistic spectrum who lives in El Khader, near Bethlehem, was disruptive in school. Unable to sustain attention, restless and agitated, and unlikely to use the little language he did have in social situations, he struggled in school. Over the course of these months Badir has benefitted from weekly music sessions with Raniya, BASR’s music facilitator whose salary ABCD supports.


Together with these sessions, the therapeutic play activities with the BASR mental health team and regular meetings to discuss his progress, his programme is adapted to reflect his progress. Now he is able to use words to express his needs. He is more aware of people around him, and that they are different from him. He is progressing in his abilities to wait, to listen, to have eye contact, and in his way of expressing different emotions like sadness, anger and joy. Badir’s eagerness and response to music sessions with Raniya reflects his awareness of the wider world and his place in it. His story is one of many showing the incredible power of music therapy.