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IDB approves US $150 million to support youth orchestras in Venezuela

The Inter-American Development Bank today approved a $150 million loan to support Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras in its efforts to provide musical training to Venezuelan youth.

The IDB loan is part of a $211 million program that also includes a $ 61 million in funds from the Venezuelan government.

The system, which has trained more than two million boys and girls ages three to 19 in the past 30 years, is made up of the Venezuelan State Foundation for the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras, 126 community-based centers located throughout all the states in the country, and 326 orchestras and choirs associated with these centers.

“The program’s ultimate objective is to contribute to improving the lives of Venezuela’s boys, girls and young people, particularly the most disadvantaged among them,” said project team leader, José Cuesta.

More than 245,000 Venezuelan youths and children, 67 percent of them belonging to the country’s poorest strata,  are enrolled in the system. Beneficiaries also include disabled youths, such as the members of the Coro de las Manos Blancas, a choir of deaf girls, boys and young people.

The proposed program seeks to expand the system to 500,000 beneficiaries by 2015.

“This loan consolidates and expands the support the Bank has been providing to Venezuela’s youth orchestras since 1998,” added Cuesta. “This expansion will contribute to the development of human capital, training in civic values and good behavior, the creation of future employment opportunities and provide healthy alternatives for the use of free time among beneficiaries.”