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Stichting Sonoro 2014 - Felicia van den End and Pepe García

First International Music Festival Sonoro 2014

This summer we succesfully organized our first International Music Festival in Río Blanco and Orizaba, Mexico. We had the pleasure of inviting different musicians from Holland and Mexico who all performed and gave different workshops. Next to music workshops we also organized theatre workshops and information meetings for the parents of the children where we worked together with psychologists and a criminologist. Thanks to you we had the means to add such wonderful new members to our team and could we donate instruments to the youth orchestra of Río Blanco! It was great to see how much attention and cooperation we received from the children, their parents and the local community. Everyone helped us in their own way and together with all those people we got to an amazing result. The foundation and its children got local fame and we were invited to talk and play in various radio and television programs. The interest in our foundation shows us how vital our program is. It was very special to see how a community like Río Blanco and Orizaba can work together. We were overwhelmed by their appreciation for our project and we were treated with a Mexican party organized by the parents of the children in Río Blanco. They made us tacos and they invited a traditional Mariachi band. We were very happy to have worked with Daniel van Huffelen, a great double bass player and experienced workshop leader from the Netherlands. The children loved him and hope that he will return soon. The final concert turned out to be a huge success, the theatre was completely full and the children did an amazing job! We have plans to organize our second International Music Festival to provide this wonderful community and hopefully other communities with more music and positive energy!


As there are a great many other children who do not have the means to travel to Río Blanco we decided to visit a small village in the mountains surrounding Orizaba and Río Blanco. We played for and taught children in Texmalaca. It was quite shocking to see how these children live. People live in poverty and besides a primary school there seemed no other education or healthcare programs active in Texmalaca. To us it was clear that these children needed more stimulation. We took some of the children from Río Blanco to Texmala to help us transmit the exercises we did to these children. Although the children from Río Blaco live relatively nearby (40 minutes by bus) there is almost no contact between urban and rural communities. These are literally two worlds with different cultures and  customs. For example, many rural people marry around the age of 13.  As these mountain regions are often to dangerous to enter and the people have their own way of life that differs greatly with the urban life there is very little contact between these two areas. Most people live in very poor circumstances and seem to be ignored by the Mexican government. Bringing these two groups of children together is therefore very important as children are the future and the instigators of change. Unfortunately it was difficult to teach these children more frequently due to the security situation. However, in the future we hope to reach also these rural children who need different, more basic programs.

Researching the Sonoro Foundation

Recently Felicia obtained her master's degree in Latin American studies at the University of Amsterdam (CMP Master's program CEDLA).
Felicia: "I have done cultural sociological research to the background of the children and their community we work with in Río Blanco and Orizaba and if the program of the Sonoro Foundation adds to the self-esteem of children. Mexicans live in a country tormented by drug related violence. This has been going on for years. Therefore it is not strange that a new culture has made its entrance: narcoculture. This is a new-formed (drug) culture, which includes narco-music, narco-saints, narco-media and other kinds of narco-representation and symbols. This influences how children grow up, many children do not play outside anymore due to the insecure situation and as a result of this  bullying in schools has become more aggressive. Television and Internet influence children in their identification processes and possibly affect children's self-esteem. My research proved that the program of the Sonoro foundation can have a positive influence on the self-esteem of children and therefore provide a positive perspective of their future. However, more research is needed to research the long-term effects of our program. My research has made me hopeful about a brighter future of the next generation that will hopefully keep repeating this kind of positive programs. Investing in children is investing in the future."


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