Music Breaks the Chains
An estimated 168 million children are still in child labour around the world today, according to the International Labour Office (ILO). One of the best ways to break those chains is to empower children, as José Antonio Abreu, 2001 Right Livelihood Award Laureate and founder of El Sistema, has demonstrated.
Since 1975, Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs, called “El Sistema” has used music education as a vehicle for social change. Today, it brings hope, joy and positive social impact to 400,000 children and their families and communities throughout the country, giving lower-income minors and abandoned children a valuable alternative to the slavery of drugs, prostitution and crime. This unprecedented success has inspired hundreds of similar programmes which reach an estimated one million children in at least 60 countries around the world. Abreu is one of the prominent supporters of ILO’s Music Against Child Labour Initiative, which inspires musicians from all over the world to dedicate at least one concert or song to the struggle against child labour.