QUITO, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian disabled children and youth who are part of the Sinamune Orchestra provide a strong demonstration that disability is not a barrier.
The orchestra, created nearly 25 years ago, aims to provide therapy for people with physical and mental disabilities through the use of visual arts, dance, song, chorus, record production, audiovisual and art.
Renowned local musicologist Edgar Palacios said that this music system founded in 1993, "which is about inclusion at its highest levels," has been crystalized.
"We have young people who are learning and practicing different skills, so they can incorporate into the society, including work. And music has given them an incredible self-esteem that allows them to become happy persons," Palacios said.
The young artists are an example of effort, perseverance and dedication to overcome life's difficulties.
Cristian Tapia, 26, is blind and a member of the orchestra. He told Xinhua that he is happy being part of this group of special musicians who have become the ambassadors of national music to the international community.
The orchestra's national and international tours have been positively received by the public.
"My experience has been very nice, incredible. We've been to Spain and Colombia," Tapia said.
The orchestra has also performed in Cuba and Peru and with each performance, it shows the audiences the barriers that can be broken and that anything is possible.
In order to operate, the orchestra needs an annual budget of 250,000 U.S. dollars, of which, the Ministry of Education provides 100,000 dollars.
To make up the remaining balance, the orchestra relies on the money it makes from its presentations and the support of like-minded organizations.
At Sinamune, the children learn to play percussion, keyboard, clarinet, saxophone and flute, among other instruments. And after several classes, it is determined for which they are skilled.
After developing their artistic potential, the children become part of the orchestra. They practice every day in preparation for concerts and presentations.
They also take dance, orchestral training and workshops in various art forms which are taught by some 30 professors and volunteers.
Geared specifically toward children with Down Syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy, the program also provides classes such as math, language and English.
These activities help the children improve their self-esteem and develop their creativity and imagination. It also helps them to express their emotions and feelings freely.
According to the data from the Ecuadorian government, there are an estimated 598,000 people in the country with some type of disability.
Created as a comprehensive school operating in the Carcelen neighborhood at the very north Quito, Sinamune Orchestra is part of the National Music System for Special Needs Children (Sinamune).