Changing the World One Song at a Time

By: Lady Aleen Yuga Cruz

As I celebrate my first month onboard as Pandoo Foundation’s music teacher, I am met by sessions of realization, songwriting, and tears. Tears not of sorrow but of realization of things brought about by a song we learned in the class.

The song’s title is Paraiso by Smokey Mountain. It is an irony of the title’s English translation paradise, as it juxtaposes life living in paradise and life living in a mountain of garbage.

Some of the younger students did not understand the song, so I played a video of the song while I explained to them what a paradise is. To my surprise, I saw two of my students with tears in their eyes. While we sang, everyone’s emotions poured out. The song really moved them as much as it moved me when I was younger. And now, they not only understood the meaning of the song, but they also learned that every single step that they make to change the world matters.

For the older kids, one step they took was venturing into songwriting.

Songwriting came as a challenge to them. They couldn’t exactly picture the final product – a song with the theme “changing the world”. As their music teacher, I didn’t let them go through the process all on their own.

During their creative writing class, they wrote essays that gave their views on how they can contribute to changing the world to become a better place to live in. In the music class, we came up with the lyrics based on the essays as well as the melody of the song.

Here are a few lines from the song:

          “We dream for a better world,

           do everything to save the earth.

           We need your guiding hands

           to hold our little hands and help us

           change the world.”

I am looking forward to completing the song with the kids. It has been, and still is, such a privilege to guide them through the whole songwriting process. I can’t wait to sing the song with them so we can pass on the message and inspire others. Who knows, this song may help change the world for the next generations’ children?