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Finding solace & Meaning in Music

Through a strategic partnership with Music Heals International (MHI), CORE has run the Plezi Mizik program in Port-au-Prince since 2014, which focuses on music as a transformative tool.


Recent studies have confirmed what CORE and MHI have known all along: music education makes a difference in the lives of school-aged children. It promotes success, builds resilience, and inspires creativity and inclusion.


This crucial program serves about 300 students annually through 8 teaching sites across Haiti, approximately 40% of whom are girls.


Throughout the year, students practice and rehearse together weekly before performing live in front of audiences at local concerts, competitions, or at a world-renowned music festival like PAPJAZZ.


For the third year in a row, these students participated in the PAPJAZZ music festival, where artists from all over the world perform in Port-au-Prince. Learn more about some of the Plezi Mizik students below.

Lourdes-Mia Michel

A portrait photo of music student, Lourdes-Mia Michel.

Lourdes-Mia grew up in a home with her father, who often played the guitar and sang. So, from an early age, she was surrounded by those who were passionate about music. It should come as no surprise that at 7, she began singing, something her father supported, as he provided her with invaluable training and guidance. Her first performance was memorable; she sang at church on her birthday.


Since she was young, she’s always looked up to her musical idols. “My favorite singer is a Haitian singer, Emeline Michel, and my favorite international singer is Adele,” she said. I love them because I see my voice in them. I grew up with them in my ear, especially Emeline Michel. She is someone I like to sing covers for her music.”


In 2019, she started attending the Plezi Mizik program where’s connected with kids from different backgrounds, interests, and skill levels.


She said, “We integrate all categories of people into the program, all categories of children. To start at any level with them and then get them where they didn’t even think they could be, this is what I think is the nicest thing about the program.”


While being in the program she discovered a new musical family. She said, “It has been a great pleasure for me to come to the program. Here, it is a family for me and for all the music students in the program.”

Marc-Williamson Bijou

Music student, Marc-Williamson Bijou, poses for a photo as he sits behind his drum kit during practice.

Marc-Williamson, 21, grew up in the Delmas 32 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. At 13 years old, he began attending Plezi Mizik, where he was one of the program’s original students and learned to play the drums.
Life in Port-au-Prince can sometimes feel stressful because of the rampant crime and the litany of dangers that come with it.


For Marc-Williamson, playing the drums has acted as a much-needed escape.


He said, “Playing drums helps me a lot when I am traumatized because of what I see on the street and what I see daily on TV. This is the best way for me to relieve stress and to unwind.”


But playing the drums is not just stress relief or a way to unwind for Marc-Williamson; it also serves as an ultimate expression of love and joy.


He said, “I feel extremely good when I am playing the drums. This the only way I have to express love.”

Dalio Dominique

Music student, Dalio Dominique, poses for a portrait photo after band practice.

Dalio, now 20, recently completed his fundamental studies and has been playing the guitar since he was in the 4th grade when he first joined Plezi Mizik. He says he looks favorably on his experience, which he says changed his life.


He said, “The Plezi Mizik music project is a good project because it taught me to play guitar and changed my life. I get to go to places I never thought I could go.”


One of those places is the PAPJAZZ festival in Port-au-Prince, which provided the students with an amazing opportunity to play on the same stage as some of the country’s greatest jazz acts and sings, opening them up to an international audience watching them online.


For Dalio, he has his sights set on something even greater: the accomplishment of a goal he’s had since he was a boy.


He said, “My dream is to become a great international artist. This has been my dream since I was young.”


Below, check out a video of the students from Plezi Mizik performing at PAPJAZZ.