Music Therapy for Street Children

project partner:Christina Noble Children's Foundation

summary: In March 2002, Trade plus Aid assisted Rebecca Hughes with a donation of 392 in order that she might go to Vietnam to work as a volunteer with the Christina Noble Foundation for Children. Rebecca is a musician and this donation contributed towards her airfare and  a further £100 enabled her to buy musical instruments for her music therapy work with the children.

Rebecca spent three months working with street children in Ho Chi Minh City with the Christina Noble Foundation for Children. The street children have suffered terrible hardship, many being forced into prostitution and begging. The CNCF strives to allow these children their childhood. Music is an important tool in enabling these children to communicate.

Rebecca lived in a room in the house of a Vietnamese family and worked at the CNCF Social & Medical Centre. The Centre only has 10 permanent residential children, who are disabled and have lived there since it opened, but there are about 50 children (aged 0-5 years old) living there altogether. Some have been abandoned or orphaned and after regaining their health they are moved onto a carefully selected orphanage or are adopted. Others are ill or malnourished and their parents have brought them to the centre to recover. The CNCF then find sponsorship so that the children can continue to live with their families. In addition, there are about 50 children from extremely poor backgrounds who use the centre as daycare whilst their parents work, mainly selling goods on the street.

The job of the CNCF volunteers is to provide stimulation and to play with the children. Most of those living in the centre are developmentally delayed and some have disabilities. With the instruments she took from Britain, Rebecca started work individually with several of these children who otherwise were unresponsive to stimulae. The instruments caught their attention and Rebecca built on this over the three months.

Rebecca also ran group sessions for the daycare children and weekly sessions with the older children who attend the CNCF Sunshine School for Street Children. These street children, aged around 12 years, choose to come to school during the day and then in the evenings sell goods such as books and postcards on the street.

Rebecca worked alongside the local Vietnamese staff so that she could train them to use the instruments in educational activities after she returned to the UK.

Read Rebecca's monthly reports

For further information about the Christina Noble Children's Foundation, visit

Rebecca Hughes & Phiuc


The Sunshine School - the die-hard group who came in the school holidays.


Music session on middle floor, singing Vietnamese songs.


The Girls Shelter - exploring instruments before the session.