ASIA/VIETNAM - The gift of music, "spiritual food" for orphaned children

Saturday, 9 March 2024 children   missionary institutes   missionaries   nuns   youth   music  

Ho Chi Minh City (Agenzia Fides) - Dominic Nguyen Van Lam, a 39-year-old priest from the diocese of Bui Chu, in southern Vietnam, was convinced from the start. He firmly believed and advocated for a very special form of care and "spiritual charity" for orphans on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, where the priest lives and studies biblical theology. After getting to know the World Youth Orchestra (WYO) foundation under the direction of the Italian maestro Damiano Giuranna, he committed himself to ensuring that the little ones "receive not only material nourishment, but also the opportunity to develop their talents, "to express their soul and heal the wounds they carry from a life and childhood marked by suffering".
" This 'food' for the soul and the spirit," explains the priest in an interview with Fides, "is music." In this way, more than a hundred children and young people between 5 and 17 years old have started attending seminars to learn a musical instrument (guitar, piano, drums, violin and local instruments) and to gain choir experience that will take place in September 2024 thanks to the cooperation project “WYO4Children”, a music education program for Vietnamese children.
"The aim," explains Maestro Giuranna, "is to promote their emotional, individual and social, human and spiritual development through music and art." The initiative includes a program of weekly lessons in which the children - through young Vietnamese teachers, who are selected, paid and coordinated by the WYO Foundation - learn the initial basics of music, learn to play classical and traditional Vietnamese instruments, participate in a "community choir" and develop their interpersonal skills through social games.
Crucial to the realization of the project was the support of the Missionaries of Charity of Bin Dhuong, who provided a facility about an hour from Ho Chi Minh City to accommodate the poorest children. Father Dominic says: "The facility run by the sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is called 'Mother's House of Care and Love'. We pursue a path of care for these children through the language of music and art, which bears special fruit: the joy that shines from their eyes. It is the joy that I feel every week when I meet them and hug them. They are children who have never received this attention, this "food" before." .
"I am sure that this type of education is very valuable in the lives of these children who come from a history marked by violence, abandonment and poverty," said the priest. "It is a way to love them and heal their hearts. It is the providence of God. In the brotherhood and joy that one breathes in the community, the love of Jesus is present," he states.
The "WYO4Children" project, whose example country in 2024 is Vietnam - while other Mediterranean or Middle Eastern countries have been the focus in the past - is part of the broader "Suoni di fratellanza" project sponsored by the “World Youth Orchestra Foundation “ with the support of the Italian “Fondazione Cassa Depositi e Prestiti” (CDP) and the contribution of the law firm “LCA Studio Legale” based in Rome and Milan. The first of three years of planned activities in Southeast Asia in 2024 aims to strengthen artistic and cultural cooperation with Vietnam, developing the artistic, musical and theatrical language of the local tradition and supporting Vietnamese artists.
"An ambitious project like 'WYO4Children' can only take shape if it succeeds in creating strong connections with the local social fabric. The support of the Missionaries of Charity of Binh Duong, whom we thank, is precious because it makes the local community an active part of this initiative", explains Damiano Giuranna. The program includes small concerts every two months as well as a final event next September, where the children can share their experiences not only with music, but also with one another. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 9/3/2024)