Jul 6, 2021

On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services organized the graduation ceremony of the seventh batch of the city's staff in the Music Therapy Program virtually. The city has been organizing Music Therapy Program since 2013, in cooperation with the University of Iowa from South Korea.

The Music Therapy Program contributes to developing the physical, social, linguistic and educational capabilities of students with disabilities. It provides opportunities for them to improve their quality of life, participate, and integrate into society. The city is keen to achieve this by organizing the program and training its staff to master its techniques and vocabulary on the hands of the most skilled specialists from the University of Iowa.

Thus, the number of city employees who graduated from the Music Therapy Program since its inception in 2013 becomes 107 employees who have contributed to the training of 398 students with disabilities. The experience gained by the staff within the program leads to the diversification of services provided to city students and the development of their skills in accordance with the best international practices.

Ms. Khadija Ahmed Bamakhramah, General Supervisor of the Music Therapy Program and who is in charge for Planning and Follow-Up in the City, has confirmed that the efforts made by city’s staff, including employees, specialists and supervisors within the program, contribute to providing the best services for people with disabilities.

She said, “The University of Iowa’s cooperation with the city is the first of its kind with an Arab institution. It is not limited to the aspect related to serving persons with disabilities, but also includes training city’s staff with the aim of achieving sustainability of the program and qualifying specialists from the city who are able to use it in the best way”.

Bamakhramah indicated that 29 female graduate students from the University of Iowa have finished there Master’s Degree in Music Therapy from the program so far.

She also mentioned the outstanding achievement that the city made last March through the organization of the International Forum for Music Therapy (Inspirational Steps). Specialists from several Arab and foreign countries participated in explaining the importance of music therapy for people with disabilities and its areas of use. In addition to the importance of integrating different disciplines and strategies and ideas in this field.

Bamakhramah praised the trust and support provided to the work team by Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, Director General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. This support achieved the continuity of the program throughout this period. She stressed that providing services to people with disabilities in line with international best practices is one of city’s main priorities.

She also extended her sincere thanks and appreciation to Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi for her unlimited support for the program since its inception, Mrs. Mona Abdul Karim Al Yafei, City Director, Professor Hyang Joo Chung, Head of the Department of Music Therapy at Iowa University. Special thanks went to Christine Kim, the trainer who supervised the training of the seventh batch, the Therapist and Music Therapy Specialist at the University of Iowa and to the staff and all those who contributed to the success of the program year after year.

To conclude, she said, “The progress made by the staff despite the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic deserves appreciation and respect. I wish success and good luck to all”.

Prof. Hyang praised the graduates of the seventh batch who received training to complete the program's mission. They are going to contribute to achieving the best results during their work with persons with disabilities by developing their motor, social, language and educational skills using music therapy techniques.

For her part, trainer Christine presented her experience in training specialists on the basics of the Music Therapy Program and the positive impact achieved during the training period.

Graduate Sherine Douban, a Teacher at Al-Amal Kindergarten for the Deaf, delivered a speech on behalf of graduates, in which she stressed the importance of the program in allowing specialists to acquire new skills and strategies in educating persons with disabilities. She explained music therapy role in developing the abilities of students with disabilities in various fields and providing them with opportunities to improve their quality of life.

The virtual graduation ceremony witnessed the graduates demonstrating their presentations, which included a recording of the music therapy sessions, evaluation notes for the work completed during the training period. They also showed the remarkable development of students' skills and abilities during the application of the sessions.