Dancing With Refugees

As a Musical Ambassador of Peace, Ari facilitates drum and dance sessions for refugees and asylum seekers in California and Mexico. She has danced with thousands of displaced souls—from Syrian and Iraqi girls rescued from ISIS enslavement to Afghan women escaping the Taliban to Central American kids who were separated at the border or had to travel to the US on their own. 

The pandemic hasn’t slowed down the sessions. Since the spring of 2020, per the request of asylum seekers, Ari has been holding weekly dance sessions via Zoom to keep her connection with refugees stuck in Mexico. In 2021, Gente Unida and Musical Ambassadors of Peace joined forces to bring more dancing to families at Mexico shelters, unaccompanied Central American children housed at San Diego Convention Center, and Haitian and Afghan refugees who have recently relocated to San Diego.

She just returned from dancing with Ukrainian refugees in London and training the new Musical Ambassador, Shirin Amani Azari, a psychotherapist specializing in working with victims of torture and war. Shirin will continue dancing with refugees in London and beyond ⭐️

Dancing with Refugee Kids from Different Parts of the World

Dancing with Ukrainian Refugees in London (Spring 2022)

Dancing with Asylum Seekers in Tijuana (Winter 2021)

Dancing with Recent Haitian Refugees (Fall 2021)

Mexicali Migrant Shelter (El Dia de Los Muertos 2021)

CNN Espanol

ABC 10

Ari connects with unaccompanied migrant kids at the San Diego convention center through dance

NBC San Diego

After a dance session with unaccompanied minors at the Convention Center

CBS San Diego

Besides wellbeing support through music, Musical Ambassadors of Peace, donates money, hygiene products, clothes, and food to shelters hosting asylum seekers. MAP and Gente Unida with the help of a matching fund through Healing Hands and other donors raised over $50,000 in 2021. Because of this donor support, we have overseen projects that foster a healing environment for migrant children and their families in several shelters in Mexico. For the latest videos and news of the Central America sessions, please follow Ari on Instagram.

Migrant Shelter, Tijuana, Mexico

Relevant Articles

Slate: Why Dancing is So Good for Us

Newsweek: Stop Saying Migrant Parents Don’t Love Their Children

Parents: Children at the Border Need Joy, Just Like Our Kids. So I Bring Them Music

Yes! Magazine: Amid Travel Ban, Refugee Women Cope With Trauma and Stress Through Drum Circles

Voice of San Diego: Bringing Music and Dance to Asylum Seekers, One Drumbeat at a Time

Chicago Tribune: Drum circle helps refugee women heal from trauma