Who We Are

Founded in 2009, Al-Mada Association for Arts- Based Community Development, is a Palestinian non-governmental organization that uses expressive arts therapies, specifically music therapy, and arts education to advance self expression, inclusion, healing, social justice and advocacy through our work with Palestine’s most vulnerable communities. Al-Mada staff have extensive training and professional experience in music, the arts and community development and the organization has worked closely with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, UNRWA, Save the Children, ANERA, Mercy Corps, the YMCA and other leading organizations working in Palestine. Through partnership with these organizations and other direct interventions with individuals and communities, Al-Mada has provided services to address the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of diverse individuals, including youth in refugee camps, ‘at risk’ youth, violated women, prisoners, people with physical and mental disabilities and other vulnerable members of the community across Palestine.

Al-Mada utilizes what is known as “expressive arts therapy” in our work and interventions.  Increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional psychological counseling and therapy interventions and used around the world in diverse contexts, this umbrella term defines a form of therapy that actively uses the creative arts, including but not limited to music, drama, movement and drawing/painting. It allows individuals or groups to examine the body, feelings, emotions and thought processes in an open and integrated way to encourage growth, development and healing with the support of a trained facilitator/counselor and can be used in psychology, education, organizational development and community work. It differs from traditional art expression, in that the creative process is more important than the final product, and is facilitated by a trained professional. It also differs from many traditional forms of psychological counseling or intervention, which rely on talk therapy as the primary form of healing. While Al-Mada actively incorporates a multi-modal approach, we focus heavily on music therapy in our work.  One does not need to be trained in music or art to participate or benefit from the expressive arts therapies.  Given the stress and trauma affiliated with daily life in Palestine, al-Mada staff finds that this form of therapy, with its emphasis on creative expression and transformative processes, has a profound and highly effective impact for individuals and groups.