Helping people with disabilities make their own music

Instructor Danuta Warzachowska (left) talks with her student Marcin Miazgowski before a recital by students of the Music School for Children With Disabilities in Honor of Paul Harris. The recital was held in May 2012 at the school in Lublin, Poland.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
A student plays accordion during the recital.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Student Malgorzata Grzelak (center), who has Down syndrome, laughs with her mother Czeslawa Grzelak while they watch the recital.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Klaudia Kowlaczuk (left), who is blind, holds hands with her sister Kinga while waiting to perform in the recital.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Instructor Illona Spychalska helps Mateusz Kania, 7, who is blind, back to his seat after his piano performance in the recital.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Marcin Miazgowski arrives for his piano lesson at the music school.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Instructor Danuta Warzachowska talks to Marcin Miazgowski (right) during his piano lesson.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Julia Warzachowska, 5, who is losing sight in one eye, gets help placing her hands correctly on the piano keyboard.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Instructor Illona Spychalska works with Mateusz Kania, 7, who is blind, as his mother Joanna Kania watches.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International
Beata Kowlaczuk dances with her daughter Klaudia, 8, who is blind and loves music.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Music has been an important part of leading an ordinary life for students at the Music School for Children With Disabilities in Honor of Paul Harris in Lublin, Poland. Founded by Rotary members, the school serves 20 students with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, and visual impairments. The Rotary Club of Lublin-Centrum-Maria Curie-Sklodowska has provided funding with help from Rotary Foundation Matching Grants and the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, which houses the school.

After their son Mateusz was born with underdeveloped eyes, Mariusz and Joanna Kania looked for ways to help him be active. When he showed an aptitude for music, they looked for a teacher and were thrilled to find the Paul Harris music school.

“A school like this helps children like Mateusz widen their perspectives, see the world a bit differently, and meet new people,” his father says. “If it weren’t for this school, there wouldn’t be a place in Lublin for disabled children who want to develop musically.”

Adapted from a story in the September 2013 issue of The Rotarian

20-Feb-2014
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