On a recent day last month, Marielena Faria stopped by the Elliott School to update us on her career and tell us about her latest project, Hearts 4 Harmony or H4H. The project aims to bring instruments donated by children in the United States to children in an underdeveloped corner of northern India. Many schools there are really just elaborate tin sheds. “India has so much poverty, yet so much culture,” Marielena says. “Music is often a uniting thread.”
The seeds for H4H took root during Marielena’s senior year in high school in a government studies class. “I was fascinated by how government shapes the way we live our lives,” she says.
That same year she visited GW and “fell in love with the campus.” At the Elliott School, she deepened her understanding of global challenges through courses ranging from macroeconomics to energy security. Most influential were two classes on South Asia that “widened my perspective and changed the way I think about this region.”
A talented musician, Marielena also joined the GW University Singers, another formative experience. “The choir was so diverse – students with different majors, students from different parts of world,” she says. “It was inspiring to have all these people come together to make beautiful music.
“Music and international affairs are my true loves and I try to figure out how I can combine the two in my life.”
With Hearts 4 Harmony, Marielena is realizing her goal. (She also has a fulltime position with a consulting firm and was recently promoted to portfolio manager.) To date, H4H has received some two dozen donated instruments toward a goal of 200 for the first shipment, planned for early next year.