Two countries in Latin America have launched programmes based on El Sistema, Venezuela’s hugely successful music education scheme. Haiti and El Salvador have recently announced their own versions of the initiative, which aims to bring about social change through music.

In Haiti, the government-backed programme will involve the creation of youth orchestras across the country. The project will be launched in the central region of Dos Palais, and initially comprise two choirs and four orchestras, including a national youth orchestra. The programme will be run through the National Institute of Music of Haiti.

‘Encouraging children to practise music is one of the best ways of giving them confidence and making them respectable citizens,’ said culture minister Mario Dupuy at the launch on 11 June. ‘Music is one of the most accessible and intense parts of our culture.’

In El Salvador, the newly formed National Youth Orchestra is to give its debut performance of Mozart and Brahms on 6 July at the National Theatre, San Salvador. The ensemble is made up of 60 young people aged between 9 and 21, who auditioned in May this year. Auditions for the new National Youth Choir will be held from 11 to 15 June.

Programmes based on El Sistema have now been launched in more than 25 countries worldwide, including the US, the UK, Australia and India.