The music therapy bus that will help thousands of children through trauma

Myisrael is helping to raise funds for the service which will support displaced Israeli families


Imagine music therapy (Myisrael)

A public bus is to be turned into a mobile music studio to provide therapy to thousands of Israeli children impacted by October 7.

Myisrael is calling on its UK supporters to donate money to help an Israeli organisation kit out a retired bus with music equipment to serve the thousands of children who have been displaced and are staying in hotels.

Music therapy is recognised by psychologists as an effective tool for reducing trauma. Therapists from Imagine, an Israeli non-profit which provides empowerment through music, realised they needed to reach more families impacted by the terrorist attacks and the war. The hope is that the bus will be able to reach 2,500 children a year.

“People who have been through traumatic events can't speak of it - it's too much. They've not yet processed it enough,” said Danni Franks of Myisrael. “This is a disaster of proportions that nobody has got any level of understanding of at the moment. People are in it and when you’re in it, you don't process trauma in the same way. You're in action mode.”

Music, however, provides a way for people to express themselves in a way that they cannot yet do in words. “Any tools that don’t involve words that enable people to express themselves are incredibly valuable, and anything like this, where you can get to large numbers of people in an effective and impactful way is an absolute no-brainer. It’s inspired and innovative.”

While the Ministry of Education will maintain the bus and pay the costs of the therapists, the driver and insurance, the vehicle itself will cost £80,000 to repurpose and equip. It is intended that the bus will be operational for at least 10 years, helping to relieve thousands of people from trauma.

The team have been finding it difficult to conduct meaningful therapy sessions because of a lack of quiet designated spaces to treat people at the hotels. “This means that they've got a space that works and is just for them. It’s a brilliant solution to be able to get to thousands of kids with all the right equipment,” Franks said.

Imagine makes music easily accessible to children by using intuitive instruments and iPads.

Shirley Winner of Imagine said: “Participating in music calms us and helps us go through all kinds of difficulties in life. We've seen this immensely within our work since October 7. Music brings something familiar and normal into a very unpredictable state of living.”

Among children displaced by the war, there is currently a focus on creativity and art rather than the regular academic curriculum. However, music can be a gateway into other areas of the curriculum, Winner explained.

“We need to deviate from the regular structured curriculum into things that they're able to absorb and to learn at this time. For those children who lost families and friends, and some of whom were taken hostage, it's very hard to talk about coming back to regular education.

"On the other hand, they need something to look forward to because they're losing their daily schedule, which is very important. Music creates a gateway for them to start to go back to education as a whole. The children really need that.”



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