While teaching in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Ioana had the opportunity to visit one of the most dangerous and impoverished areas called "El Capotillo." Through a government program called "Escuelas Libres," the children of this area are given the opportunity to get off the streets by participating in an arts program that is currently spearheaded by David Almengod (percussionist for Juan Luis Guerra).
David's done an amazing job working with these super talented and eager kids. This program is teaching the children the importance of collaboration and respect for others, while empowering their voices to become leaders in their community.
By using garbage (found everywhere on the streets) and otherwise "useless" items, the children make instruments and create music. They learn important lessons about recycling and caring for the environment, while also drawing a parallel between the discarded items that have found new meaning and themselves.
They are asked to look at things with a new sense of purpose and to communicate through music and dance as creative expression. Ioana is working towards some future collaborations with these programs in the Dominican Republic.