GradImpact: Music as a Path out of Poverty

    When she was six years old, Dafne Guevara, a doctoral candidate in musical arts at the University of Nevada, Las, Vegas, discovered her musical ability. Her mother had enrolled her in a music program to keep her off the streets of El Chorrillo, Panama, a country with the second worst income distribution in Latin America and where roughly 25% of the population lives in poverty. Guevara overcame many obstacles, including discouraging words from an elementary school teacher.

    Guevara left Panama for North Carolina on a Fulbright scholarship in 2010 to study flute performance and earned her master’s degree. While pursuing her doctorate at UNLV, she decided to do something to benefit her home country and organized the first-ever flute festival at the University of Panama. Guevara began by founding a non-profit organization, Asociación Panameña de Flautistas (APAFLUT), to assist with fundraising. She applied for scholarships and grants, reached out to mentors, and held recitals to raise money to host the festival.


    67 students aged 12-21 from six countries and 17 artists and instructors gathered during the summer of 2017 to see first-hand the power of music. Sponsors helped to pay the tuition and fees for many of the students. “I wanted the whole music community to see that they can do it,” Guevara said. “If you set your mind to something, you can do it.” To learn more about Dafne’s work visit the University of Nevada, Las Vegas website.


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    Photo Credit: UNLV Creative Services


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