I want to build a school with this guitar

Suzy Marselis was the the Project Leader for the project Tasajera Summer School in 2016

EMANA wants to build a school in the island of Tasajera, and Suzy has been raising funds by playing guitar on the streets during her world travels. This initiative has 3 goals:  

  • make people smile with music on the street
  • raise funds to build for the school project in the island of Tasajera
  • inspire people to change the world by doing small things

In this video blog you can find updates on the progress of this project and the lessons learned along the way.

Thank you for following.


(24) School Construction – October 12, 2016 This video is part of the originally named project “I want to build a school with this guitar”, a project focused to build a school with this guitar. During the project duration the project took a different course and a real school was not build – instead a summer school program was developed for the children – but reconstruction was done on the existing school! What happened exactly can be seen in this video! Find us on: http://www.emanaelsalvador.org


(24) Spanish Volunteers – September 15, 2016 EMANA partnered with Sol de Tasajera, to provide education to the people on the island of Tasajera during the summer of 2016. Eight spanish volunteers came to the island to teach in the summer school and to help with the reconstruction of part of the school. This movie is part of the “I want to build a school with this guitar” project of EMANA, that has been renamed to EMANA Summer School in this video
(23) American Teachers – August 18, 2016 As part of the EMANA summer school project on the island of tasajera in El Salvador, a team of 12 American missionaries joined the project to teach various courses in the summer school. This video describes their effort. This video is part of the line; I want to build a school with this guitar (23).
(22) Promoting Tasajera – June 10, 2016 As a result of 16 days of English classes on the island of Tasajera, the students were asked to promote their own island in English. They chose the topics they thought were most appealing to tourists and their efforts have been put together into this promotion video.
(21) Student Voices – June 30, 2016 This video features some of the students in the EMANA summer school project. They were interviewed after the first ten day summer school period to give their opinion about the program and the things they have learned.
(20) First week of classes – June 20, 2016 The first week of classes of the EMANA summer school has passed, this video gives an impression of the first days!
(19) Ready?! Set! Go! – June 8, 2016 The day has almost come, that we are going to start teaching in the summer school. Last preparations are almost finished and we are ready to go.
(18) Fundraising at University of Maryland – May 20, 2016 As last fundraising event, we organized a Thrift Sale at the University of Maryland, to raise money to organize a summer school project in El Salvador.
(17) Call for teachers – Feb 9, 2016 The EMANA summer school project has started a new phase: the search for volunteers for the summer of 2016. We search for people from around the world that are willing to come to the island of Tasajera in order to teach a course in our summer school project. Fill out an application form here.
(16) Back to Tasajera – Jan 11, 2016 I went back to the island of Tasajera, to help out with the on-site preparations for the summer school that EMANA is going to organize on the island of Tasajera in the summer of 2016. This video shows a summary of the happenings in the week I spent there :).
(15) Happy Anniversary! – Dec 27, 2015 We have been working on this project for one year now, so here is: an Anniversary video!! To summarize the past year and see what is going to happen next. It has been a really interesting project and we can’t wait for the next half year of preparations and hope to succesfully teach the summer school in June, July and August 2016. It’s been such a journey and I can’t wait for the next part!
(14) First Island Visit – Nov 6, 2015 During the first working week in Tasajera, we documented the rundown condition of the local school, and started assessing their development needs. We are currently forming a committee to oversee the summer school.
(13) Step 3: Finding the right people – Sept 25, 2015 This is a video explaining the third and final step of our approach to tackle the problems on the island of Tasajera in El Salvador, indicating the people that we need in order to make this project a success!
(12) Step 2: Identifying the needs – Sept 3, 2015 This video shows step 2 of the three-step approach identified in blog update (10) and focuses on the needs of the island inhabitants in order to solve the problem. It lines out the summer school program that EMANA has identified as being able to foresee in the needs of the inhabitants in order to solve the problems the community is facing in the most constructive way.
(11) Step 1: Identifying the problem – August 11, 2015 As a follow-up on the last blog-update, will we start a series of step 1 to 3 on how to solve a problem. Showing how EMANA wants to help solving the problems on Tasajera Island. This is the video with step number 1, on identifying the real problems on the island with the help of the local community.
(10) Time to Think – July 21, 2015 I haven’t posted in a long time, but don’t be afraid that we stopped the project; I just moved out of the internet-connected world. I spent time in the rain forest in Peru in order to learn valuable lessons of how to run succesful projects in an NGO. This video shows the lessons I learned and gives a feeling for my life over the past months. With special thanks to Enamorate Ya! and Juan Carlos in Peru!
(9) Doing it the Dutch way – Mary 2, 2015 EMANA comes from all over the world; I am originally from the Netherlands and I recently returned to my own country. Just in time to celebrate ‘Kings day’, the biggest national holiday of the year, celebrating our kings birthday. The national color is orange, so on this particular day it is most common to wear orange clothing and go out on the street and to sell the stuff you don’t particularly need, or to play an instrument or dance or whatever else you can think up to a bit of money. So I went out – off course – as well, and tried my guitar skills in the centre of Amsterdam. This video puts a bit of my Dutch culture in this project for El Salvador.
(8) The Power of Music – April 11, 2015 On the street – there are no words used to explain the story, to explain why I build a school with the guitar or where or for who. There is just music and the music, makes it all happen. Therefore, here is a video about the power of music – it is just me, playing on the street, for you to understand what the project is really like.
(7) Busker’s point of view – March 26, 2015 In the meantime, I have spent a pretty decent amount of time on the street. This, however, is the first time I am playing for a long amount of time in the same city. I have found my favorite spots, my less favorite spots, made connections and learned more about the world and it’s people every day. This video gives some insight in what I see when I am on the street.
(6) Everlasting Change – March 4, 2015 Last weekend made me believe in change more than I have ever believed in change before. I refound my own faith in this project, in the world, in the people, in live and in love. I want to share my insights on this with you based on an accident that happened two days ago and that literally turned my life upside down.
(5) Power of Teamwork – Feb 8, 2015 Along the road I realized how amazing people are, and how cool it is to do things together. I started involving the people that crossed my path in this project and realized that it was so much easier and more fun to share, talk, learn and work together. These experiences resulted in this blogpost on the power of teamwork
(4) On Creation & Improvisation – Jan 31, 2015 I have been busking for over a month now and the experiences have been amazing. However, this video is not about busking, but about the idea behind busking ‘creation and improvisation’ as key values of this project.
(3)Buskers United – Jan 8, 2015
Last week when I went busking I met some local buskers. They were excited about my story and very willing to help me on my busking journey and together we played for EMANA. It was an amazing afternoon and they made me realize even more how you can achieve something when you put the energy of many people together.
(2)Busking Experiences – Jan 7, 2015
During my first week as busker I had many different experiences, but all were very positive. I met amazing people, people that believed in my mission and that encouraged me in many different ways to continue and make this happen.
(1)The Beginning – Jan 2, 2015
I believe that we can make a big difference by doing something really small, thus I play my guitar on the street to make people smile, and with the money we will build a school for a local community in El Salvador.


  1. Daniel Grant says:

    You are an absolute inspiration. Hanging out with you for a bit I knew you had something. To want to make a difference as much as you do is truely amazing!

  2. Michael says:

    Hi Suzy. I listened to you this morning as you sat bare foot in the sun playing music like a river flows…and all the people walking to work disappeared and there was just you, your music and a beautiful message.

    1. Michael says:

      I lost your email address suzie :-)….you were going to teach me some music….so if you still want to send me an email and we can organize something. Good luck at the Old Canberra Inn on Sunday.

      1. Suzy Marselis says:

        Hi Michael! Thank you for listening to me, I am glad you are appreciating my friday-morning-music in front of your office. You can do three things; either send an e-amail to EMANA (emana.elsalvador@gmail.com) and you will be re-directed to me, or wait until next friday – you know where to find me, or come and see me on sunday off course! 🙂 Have a musical day, Suzy

  3. Lynn says:

    Hi Suzy,
    It was lovely to meet you on the bus to Devonport! I am very impressed with what you are doing to make the world a better place 🙂 Both Beth & Amanda, friends in Michigan & Canberra that I’ve told about you and your school, are impressed as well and I’ve passed along your contact information. You never know what connections might happen on a bus to further a worthy cause! The best of luck, and I will follow your journey. I am looking to volunteer on my journey as well, so who knows, next year I may come help build a school! Lynn

    1. Suzy Marselis says:

      Hi Lynn!!

      It was really good to meet you on the road, and even more to re-meet you two weeks later, what a great surprise! Thank you for the confidence in my project and for spreading the story around the world, I am definitely going to get in contact with your friends as well!

      Good luck on your travels, enjoy every day and stay tuned!


  4. Mike Gilligan says:

    Hi Suzy,
    Nice to hear back from you. Yes, I had a good trip following on from dropping you off in Coalgate. Thanks again for your company. I’m pleased you got a ride so quickly. It must have been a wonderful trip all the way to Geraldine what with all 4 girls busy chatting away like little excited teenages do!
    Keep in touch regarding your progress with fundraising. I’ll look in on your blog to see where you are. Remember that these computers are being set aside for you to have at the school. It would be wonderful to bring this about & have them all used for such a great reason.

    Bye for now,

    1. Suzy Marselis says:

      Hi Mike!

      Thank you again very much for your offer to help, it is greatly appreciated by us (from EMANA) and off course as well by the inhabitants of Tasajera island! We will find a way to ship the computers around the world and get in touch with you again!

      Stay tuned, drive safely and thanks again! =D

Leave a Reply to Michael Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s