Royal Ballet soloist Colombian Fernando Montaño led and choreographed a unique music and dance performance in aid of the Playing for Change Foundation and Children Change Colombia in September 2015.
Supported by the Pureland Foundation and Bruno Wang, the charity gala known as “Fernando and Friends” was hosted at the Royal College of Music and also featured the star of the Paris Opera Ballet, Isabelle Ciaravola, and English National Ballet Senior Principal Ballerina, Elena Glurjidze. Costumes were provided by Dame Vivienne Westwood, Edward Lidster and Elizabeth Emanuel.
Children Change Colombia, of which Mr Montaño is Patron, works with children and their families in Colombia to challenge poverty, inequality, discrimination and violence.
The Playing for Change Foundation aims to bring about positive change for young people through music and arts education. It works in countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, and Thailand.
Thanks to its work, more than 1,000 young people attend free classes in dance, instruments, languages and musical theory, all taught by qualified local teachers.
Projects also help meet essential needs of the larger community, including the provision of aid such as food, clean water, medicine, clothes, books, school supplies, solar energy, computers, and other modern technology. More than 15,000 people have been impacted by the Foundation’s community development and empowerment efforts.
Annual program evaluations reinforce the real and positive impact of music education and demonstrate change in action. When children play music together, collaboration increases and conflict is reduced.
And critically important to children, particularly those who are vulnerable due to poverty, conflict, drugs, and neglect, is that learning music increases self-esteem and fosters resilience and joy.
As one of its students in Nepal has said: “Music is an indispensable part of life – you cannot live without music.”