Photo: Marmolejos/Shutterstock

Sonidos de la Tierra: Saving Children Through Music

by Julie Schwietert Apr 17, 2008

“The young person who plays Mozart by day does not break shop windows at night.”

Organization: Sonidos de la Tierra

Opportunity: Long-term volunteering with youth in Paraguay.

Organization Overview: Sonidos de la Tierra was founded in 2002 by internationally recognized master musician, composer, and orchestral conductor, Luis Szaran.

Szaran envisioned providing kids in underserved and poorly resourced communities with the opportunities to learn how to play musical instruments and, on a more philosophical level, rescue traditional Paraguayan culture and improve the sustainability of local communities by teaching kids skills that can pave the way to higher education and a professional career.

Opportunity Overview: Since its founding, Sonidos de la Tierra (“Sounds of the Earth”) has offered training in the musical arts to more than 8,000 kids in 120 communities in Paraguay through workshops, their “conservatory on wheels,” and the establishment of music schools.

Although Sonidos de la Tierra has been featured on the television program “Frontline/World,” the organization is relatively unknown in the United States and Canada, and Sonidos de la Tierra would like to build stronger relationships with U.S. and Canadian volunteers.

Ideal Volunteer Profile

-An individual who possesses a strong professional background in the musical arts OR who can assist in any of the following areas: publicity, fundraising, and website development.

-At present, the organization is in particular need of string musicians and orchestral and choral directors.


Expectations of Volunteers:

Volunteers are expected to commit to a period of service that is at least six months in length, but is ideally one year or longer. In addition, program assistant Nilda Ubeda indicates that volunteers are expected to be open-minded, able to give the best of themselves, and willing to live with “people with distinct cultural and social realities.”

Learn More About Sonidos de la Tierra:

-View the Frontline/World documentary.

-Visit Sonidos de la Tierra’s website.

Details: If you are interested in being considered for a volunteer position with Sonidos de la Tierra, please send an e-mail expressing your interest to

Be sure to include your resume or a summary of your professional musical experience or your web development/fundraising expertise. If your resume suggests that your experience could be useful, a Sonidos staff member will contact you.

Feel Good Story:

-To see how Sonidos de la Tierra has instilled a passion for music in its young students, check out this YouTube video.

-To read more about the inspirational Luis Szaran and Sonidos, read this profile on the Skoll Foundation’s website.

Matador Community Connection:

Visit Matador to learn about other organizations doing amazing work in Paraguay.

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