A Statement from OrKidstra on El Sistema Venezuela
OrKidstra has recently become aware of news regarding allegations of sexual abuse in connection with the El Sistema program in Venezuela. The entire OrKidstra family is deeply troubled by the stories of exploitation that these vulnerable young people have bravely shared and unconditionally condemns behaviour that mistreats or, in any way, creates an unsafe environment for young people. For all those who speak out, we know there are many that suffer in silence.
OrKidstra has created a safe environment where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Our highest priority is to provide a safe, healthy, and supportive environment where young people can thrive and grow through learning music together. We strive together, every day, to help one another and build a community that truly lives its values of respect and equity.
Although OrKidstra was founded on the principles of music as an agent of social change, like many Sistema-inspired programs around the world, it has no direct affiliation with the Venezuelan El Sistema program. As an ongoing practice, and in response to this news, OrKidstra is building a dialogue with other community-engaged music education programs across Canada, and beyond, to ensure that we actively continue to create safe and supportive spaces for our children and youth.
OrKidstra places the utmost importance on student safety including a policy that ensures that all staff, teachers, and volunteers have Criminal Records Check for the Vulnerable Sector. OrKidstra’s Board of Directors is committed to regularly reviewing and implementing policies that ensure the highest level of safety for our students and our community.
If any members of the OrKidstra family, including our students, would like to reach out regarding this news, OrKidstra is listening. Let’s continue to “play every note with love” and work together towards building a better future for everyone, today.