Music belongs to everyone, and everyone has a right to play, sing, perform, and enjoy music—this was the inspiration for Worldwide Music Day, established in 1981 and celebrated around the world every year on June 21. Everyone has a right to music. But wait. The day before—June 20—is International Day of the Refugee—a day calling attention to the plight of people forced to flee their homes. A day marking the needs—and rights— of refugees for safety, freedom, protection from harm. Even a little knowledge of what today’s refugees face is enough to conclude that displaced people are not likely to have access to music… nor to so many other ‘rights’ that most of us take for granted. 

War, repression, climate collapse, and grueling poverty force millions of people to flee their homes, risking their lives in search of safety and the chance of a future… only to meet exclusion, prejudice, even violence once they reach ‘safe’ places. Musicians Without Borders brings music to people affected by war and conflict, including refugees and those who have been forced to flee their homes in search of security. We work with vulnerable children, youth, women, and men in refugee camps and centers in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, Jordan, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. 

These days we also bring music to displaced people in the Netherlands, where overcrowded facilities, social isolation, slow processes, and a policy of ‘discouragement’ often leave people stuck in a limbo with no future in sight. Welcome Notes brings music into Dutch emergency reception centers, bringing respite from stress, grief and uncertainty to children. With music we say, ‘You are welcome here.’ 

The number of refugees needing space in the centers is increasing, and the demand for support has grown. We have a team of ten eager, expert musicians, good contacts with the centers, and continual requests for music activities. We have the resources, and we are ready to expand, but we don’t have enough money to respond. On June 20 and June 21—International Day of the Refugee and Worldwide Music Day—we aim to raise funds to double the number of music workshops for children in Dutch refugee centers.

In honor of the Day of Music, and the Day of the Refugee — please help us bring music to  children, youth, women and men displaced by war and in need of hope, community, and connection.

“Today, for the first time in 6 months, I saw my child smiling…” 

How you can support our work with refugees in the Netherlands

For the next 48 hours we are asking a simple request: donate what you can to help us bring more music, to more children, in more reception centers. We are accepting donations across World Refugee Day and Worldwide Music Day, with all donations going towards our Welcome Notes program in the Netherlands. But that’s not all,

Double your impact

Thanks to a generous donation from a matching fund, for 48 hours across World Refugee Day and Worldwide Music Day, all donations will be matched. This means that each individual donation goes twice the distance to supporting refugee children!

Donate now