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Pulling At The Heartstrings

Rhonda Swan

A new charity venture is bringing music to the ears of underprivileged children in Bali. We spoke to founders Rhonda Swan and Ryan Whitewolf about Heart Strings Project.

Hi Ryan and Rhonda. Can you tell us about your initiative, how it came about and what it hopes to achieve?

Rhonda: The Heart Strings Project is a vision created by musician Ryan Whitewolf and myself after a conversation we had about the impact music and frequency can have on the development of the human spirit, especially children.

Ryan Whitewolf: Essentially we were looking to empower orphaned and underprivileged children in Bali with the gift of music, potentially giving them a skill to support themselves in the future, and a tool to express themselves and transform their emotions into art.

The charity has its origins in personal experience for you both, is that correct?

Ryan: That’s true. I was fostered and taken away from my mother at the age of six weeks old, so this is definitely a heartfelt project for me. My experience brought up a lot of emotions and music helped me transmute those emotions into depths of beauty within, so I wanted to give that opportunity to others.

Rhonda: Being a Mother, and living on Bali for the last six years, my heartstrings were pulled when I learned that there are thousands of children living on the streets and dumpster sites on Bali and hundreds in orphanages needing help. We wanted to do something, so when myself and Ryan learned about S.O.S Children’s Villages Bali and their work we presented an idea to the King of Kerambitan of a charity initiative to help give orphaned kids the chance to play and learn music. The Heartstrings Project was born.

Rhonda Swan

Yak: What else was important for you with this initiative?

Ryan: We were keen to create something that would help preserve the traditions of Bali. I think we are all aware of the impact outside influence has had on this beautiful island, so we wanted to be involved in a project that would not only support underprivileged children but also help preserve Bali’s local traditions and music.

Rhonda: The power of music, through the opportunity of expressing emotions, doesn’t just give these children a sense of home within themselves, it can also be used to empower their lineage, their culture, their language.

What have you achieved so far?

Rhonda: Our first fundraising event was to create a music program for the orphans at SOS children’s village in Bali. It was a huge success and brought in IDR250 million. We’d love to thank our sponsors and donators here @sababaywinery @hanaleiswan @jemmebali. If you would like to help out and support us, you can do so at www.heartstringsprojects.com 

Ryan: The funds went to purchase new instruments for the @sundaram.string quartet and instruments for the children’s music school development. In return for new instruments, @sundaram.string will donate six months of guitar and violin lessons to the S.O.S. village children at the Palace of Keramitan each week. The program will focus on a curriculum based on old traditional Balinese songs, recomposed.

Rhonda: Empowering culture, empowering children with the gift of music, potentially giving them a tool to support their livelihood in the future, and helping them transform their emotions into art … this is what Heartstrings Project is all about.