Our story

El Sistema Greece is a community music project that provides free music education to children and young people in Greece. All children—no matter their origin, nationality, or religion—are not only inspired to strive for a better future, but thanks to music, they are given a platform for dialogue and togetherness across diverse communities.

Our model strives to:

a) educate through inspirational, regular learning

b) integrate by bringing these children and communities together

c) communicate through ambitious artistically rewarding performances that increase visibility and encourage better systemic support.

Music is a universal language which can be a powerful tool for social inclusion. Our educational approach builds on effective methods from Venezuela’s social action programme El Sistema, adapted in over 60 countries and recognized as a tool for youth crime prevention by UNICEF. We combine learning and artistic excellence with caring and consistent relationships that are so vital for our students. On stage, the children are experienced as young artists. Here they challenge external perceptions and demonstrate their great potential to add value as part of a community.

El Sistema Greece spreads music across the region of Athens: Skaramagkas Refugee Camp, Elaionas Refugee Camp, Apostoli NGO at Moschato and Malliaras School in Alimos are the main nucleos where El Sistema Greece currently operatesbut we also offer more music classes in the center of Athens in collaboration with other organizations such as Elix, Zeuxis and International Organization of Migration (IOM). Our headquarters are located at Kypselis 62, in the multicultural and vibrant Kypseli neighbourhood. Here, we have 250 square meters dedicated to free music lessons for choir, violin, viola and cello. We are developing programmes in other refugee camps and community centers in Athens, as well as starting a new collaboration in Thessaloniki.

During the first year of El Sistema Greece, in 2016, we offered 380 hours of choir and violin classes. In 2017, we managed to offer 1,099 hours of choir, violin, cello and viola classes. In 2018, we added lessons for trumpet, clarinet and percussion to our weekly schedule for a total of 1,331 hours in the year. Over 1,500 children and youth between the ages of 5 and 26 have had access to El Sistema tuition since the programme started.


What our students say

“Yes, because I got to know musicians and conductors who made me more interested and eager to combine studying the violin with everything else I had to do for school. Yes, because I like the idea of giving joy to people whose life suddenly changed to the worst and through the orchestra got re-empowered.”

— A student of El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra, when asked why she would like to continue being a member

What parents say…

“I was very worried at the beginning when we arrived in the camp because he was shy and had no friends. But with the music class he met friends, he improved his language, he talks more and is more confident. He is different now, thank you.”

Mother of a violin student in Skaramagkas