ABRSM’s International Sponsorship Fund
Launched in 2012, ABRSM’s International Sponsorship Fund (ISF) has supported music projects and programmes in more than 50 countries around the world, with an estimated 5,000 students benefitting from the fund’s support. More than a decade later, we are delighted to share some of the ISF’s stories in our 10-Year Impact Report as we launch our new, enhanced programme of international sponsorship, Play On, to succeed the ISF.
Many thanks to everyone that has collaborated with us over the years and helped to make the ISF such an impactful initiative. Please see below for information about the 2022 ISF recipients and the work they are doing, or head over to our new Play On page for more information about our international sponsorship plans for 2023 and beyond, which we are delivering in partnership with The Commonwealth Resounds.
We selected our ISF 2022 recipients for their commitment to providing opportunities to access and progress in music, with a focus on inclusive music-making, wellbeing and community engagement.
Located in the West Bengal hill town of Kalimpong, near Darjeeling in India, Gandhi Ashram School puts music at the heart of children’s learning. The school offers tuition-free education for students from low-income backgrounds and places an emphasis on well-being, health and nutrition. Its music programme aims to enrich lives through the beauty of music and the development of a wide range of skills, and includes activities ranging from ensemble playing to composition and improvisation.
The International Sponsorship Fund will help the scheme to introduce a number of exciting initiatives, including the addition of ukulele and melodica tuition, as well as better-resourced facilities to support learning. Virgil Vihaan Sequeira, Director of Music & the Arts at Gandhi Ashram School, is excited to take the music programme “to the next level with ABRSM’s kind support, reaching out to our children in musical ways that we have only been able to dream of. The campus and the hills are soon going to come alive with new timbres and sweeter melodies.”
La Escuela Paralela is a free double bass school that operates in an outdoor park in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Led by musician Esar Simo and in partnership with La Escuelita del Conde, the programme welcomes more than 500 children, young people and adults every Sunday, where they make music together under the guidance of professional musicians from across the island, including those from the symphony orchestra.
La Escuela Paralela will use ABRSM funding to rent a dedicated space near the park to provide enhanced tuition and storage, and to purchase more instruments, equipment and teaching materials. Esar Simo is excited that this programme “will fill the void of classical double bass players for youth orchestras, the national symphony orchestra and the jazz and popular music scene in the Dominican Republic. We are very happy to encourage the study of the instrument in children, young people and adults.”
Education Africa creates and delivers programmes that focus on poverty alleviation through education. Founded in 1992 by humanitarian and social entrepreneur James Urdang, the organisation will use ABRSM funding to expand its Marimba Hub programme in South Africa. The programme currently reaches more than 1,100 children each week in disadvantaged communities and provides them with the opportunity to learn to play the instrument, make music with others and build confidence in a safe and inclusive environment.
The funding will support the creation of a new Marimba Hub at Rietvale High School in the Northern Cape. The school’s headmistress, Ms Bolokano, said, “We are unbelievably excited to have a Marimba Hub at our school. We hope to grow the project in the near future to at least 100 learners – what an amazing collaboration between the ABRSM, Education Africa and Rietvale High School.”