In October 2015, the Music Heals International program integrated music education into the curriculum for special needs children at the JP/HRO School of Hope. This pilot initiative acts as a foundation for expanding MHI programming to serve the most vulnerable children.  Thirty special needs students (ages 4-12) attend music class twice a week and take part in  MHI’s live performances for their families and community. Among them, is the tenacious Eva Maria, an eight-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome.

Before she was able to speak, Eva could sing. “While taking Eva to kindergarten, we would pass by a church, she would drop my hand and run inside the church to sing” says Eva’s father, Serge Honoré.

Eva has a great passion for music, dance, and poetry.  Ever since she began attending school at Ecole de l’Espoir last September, Eva has made enormous progress. The Music Heals program plays an important role in her improvements. Eva sings, plays flute and percussion and loves to dance. Movement is also a part of the Music Heals program.

Today when she listens to a song on the radio or TV, she memorizes the lyrics and tries to sing them. She has made a lot of progress with her speech as well, and her family is grateful to the school and her teachers for doing such an amazing job. Her father believes the Music Heals program is necessary for her intellectual and personal development.

“Music is her life, and Eva learned at a young age that that’s what she wanted to do and is determined to work to become great at it.”

The program has also made a positive impact on Honoré’s family. Her father admitted that at first he had lost hope and did not know what to do with Eva, who was a slow child.  Today, when Eva comes home from school, all she wants to do is write in her notebook, and play “school” where she pretends to be her own teacher, as well as to sing and dance, says Honoré with a big smile.

He has great hope for Eva and strongly believes that she will receive all of the necessary guidance through the school and the Music Heals program to become whatever she chooses to be in her life!