Throughout the world, children face invisible barriers that limit their futures—inequality and poverty, as well as the discrimination, prejudice and other disadvantages that these problems cause. A movement to counter these social problems with the power of music is underway in Latin America, and the Latin American Youth Orchestra and Band is a part of that movement.
The youth orchestra has its beginnings in a government-backed music education project called El Sistema, which was first introduced in Venezuela. Implemented as a national strategy to prevent delinquency and eradicate poverty, El Sistema aims to promote society-wide stability by engaging children in musical activities and securing future employment opportunities for them. Yamaha supports these efforts, and for the last 15 years has contributed by promulgating instrument maintenance techniques and training instrument repair technicians.
In Colombia, youth orchestras and bands were launched in Medellín (Red de Escuelas de Música de Medellín) and Bogotá (Fundación Nacional Batuta), for example. Yamaha also played a hand in the creation of a scholarship program called ToKANDO, which is run by Fundación Incolmotos Yamaha, a major partner of ours in Latin America.
New challenges have also appeared. One major problem is a lack of awareness of the importance of and methods used for instrument maintenance, exacerbated by the fact that there are few people who are able to repair broken instruments. To address this problem, we launched the AMIGO Project in 2014, offering workshops to enable people to maintain instruments on their own, and promoting the training of technicians who can repair broken instruments.