Darbuka Drum Photo credit: By Antonio-www.flickr.com
After seven years of regularly visiting the Ofakim After School Center for children at high risk in Rishon leZion, it has turned into a second home for ESRA Rishon volunteers. We feel very deeply about the children of the Center - how can this not happen when we see their excitement and happiness when we visit and they run up to us in the corridor calling out our names.
Birthday cakes and gifts, festival cakes, gifts, sweeties, sweaters and scarves, furniture and recorders - these are just a few of the things we have brought to this Center over the last seven years. Some of the children are at the Center for their first year and some are already in their third year, depending on the age each joined. Some received their first sweater at Chanukah and some their third!
The latest addition is a weekly hand-held drum (darbuka) lesson given by a professional music therapist. ESRA Rishon LeZion will be paying for lessons for the next three years.
The lessons started in mid-November 2016. The teacher, Peer, had an immediate accord with the children. They did not take their eyes off her - she had them totally spellbound (and we ESRA ladies as well). After she introduced herself she started tapping on her chest, knees and thighs to teach them the first rhythm. Then she handed out the drums and the same rhythm was banged out, and surprisingly, it sounded good and the children were so proud of themselves. This is a fantastic way for “At Risk” children to knock out some of their frustrations and learn the basics of rhythm and music. It is totally amazing. For those of us who were there from ESRA, there were both massive smiles and tears of emotion at being able to do this for the kids.
Personally, I ask myself WHY? Why were these lovely children born at the wrong time in the wrong place and therefore need our attention? It is a very big “why” question - “we” are so lucky!
Janet Chait Kiesari is the Chairperson of ESRA, Rishon le Zion