Looking back at 2018

Dear Friend,

Thanks to your support and God’s provision, 2018 was a monumental year for Music for Life! Together, we made a tremendous impact on the children and communities we serve.

While it’s difficult to quantify our work with mere numbers, we feel it’s important to measure the impact we’re making so we can see the bigger picture and the broader story God is writing through you, our staff, volunteers, church and ministry partners, and the very children we work with.

We hope you’re inspired/encouraged by the impact you’ve helped us make, and that you enjoy reading the experiences of some of the people whose lives you’ve helped changed.
Music for Life 2018
Music for a Life 2018 at a glance

We are Music for Life – the charity that runs the African Children’s Choir and Ubuntu Africa touring programs. In addition to the quality education programs we provide, a significant part our mission is to reach children through our Music for Life outreach programs. These programs provide a spiritual and motivational lifeline for other children in desperate need back in Africa.  

Read more about Music for Life Outreach Programs.

African Children's Choir Primary School
Providing a quality education to the children who have traveled with the African Children’s Choir is one of our highest priorities. This means creating an environment where children not only have access to the best learning tools, but are also allowed to express themselves, think critically and feel safe. We celebrate local culture through music and dance and our faith through daily devotions. The children also reach their neighbors through mercy projects delivering food, acts of service and through prayer.  

Our Primary 7 students took their Uganda national exams in November and will be moving on to high school next year.  We celebrated the graduation of 24 students in 2018. 
African Children's Choir Ronald

In a letter to you, Ronald, who toured with Choir 22 and Young Africans 2, talks about his life in the slum area of Kisumu, Uganda, before tour. He discusses losing his father and the detrimental effect it had on his mother and five siblings, and details the “profound impact” the choir had on his life, leading to Ronald graduating with a First-Class Honors in Telecommunications and Information Technology from Kenyatta University in 2018. 

Read Ronald’s empowering words here.

Ubuntu Africa took Australia by storm during a three-month tour from Melbourne to Brisbane. The performances moved people to standing ovations in almost every location and the Choir members and team made a massive impact on Australian communities. 

A few years ago African Children’s Choir creatives, Choir Director, Barbara Serungoji, Technical Director, Andrew Stanley and International Director of Choir Operations, Julia Barnett-Tracy brainstormed about producing a new album and touring show for the Choir. The result was a merging of two worlds, infusing traditional Western Hymns with the vibrant musical style of Uganda.

Empower International Academy

The construction of phase I of our Empower International Academy is complete! This secondary level school will bring an international standard Christian education to members of the African Children’s Choir and beyond. Please pray with us as we continue to develop the campus and search for the best people to lead our education, discipleship and leadership programs. The school will open to students in February 2020. We would like to thank Engineering Ministries International, USAID ASHA, Living Water International, Ecclesia Church and Empower African Children for support and partnership on this project. 

In 2018 the children featured in the Bernstein Mass, performed at the Long Center in Austin, TX. This epic work, directed by Maestro Peter Bay of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, was organized to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late composer Leonard Bernstein. The African Children’s Choir learned liturgical passages in Latin and joined over 300 performers including the Austin Children’s Choir, Ballet Austin, Conspirare, Ballet Austin and the Austin Symphony Orchestra for two sold out concerts. The experience was a tour highlight for the children, and they warmed the hearts of thousands of audience members. 

With our heartfelt gratitude, we thank you for continuing to be part of the Music for Life family.

Scott Lambie
Director of Development

Between Friends – March

Battling the cycle of poverty is a dynamic challenge, a challenge that requires long-term commitment, investment and consistency amidst harsh environments. It requires overcoming many obstacles and an unwavering faith that God will continue to guide, provide and lead us to His plan in our lives. Each year we celebrate our university graduates. This year we are highlighting young women who have overcome their circumstances to achieve milestones that are statistically stacked against them. Please meet some of our 2017 university graduates:


Nkomazi Choir

Shirley graduated with a diploma in clinical engineering from Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria and is now employed at a medical technology company in Johannesburg.






Choir 21

After graduating High School, she toured with the first Young Africans, after which she returned back home and joined Makerere University. She is now a graduate with a degree in music, dance, and drama, as a dance major. Linnet also toured with Choir 47 as the choir conductor.





Choir 19

Patricia graduated from Kyambogo University with a degree in social work and community development. As a social worker, she hopes to work with disadvantaged children, to help them make the best choices in life. Patricia is forever grateful for the work of the African Children’s Choir.




Choir 19

Sandra graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from Makerere University. She can’t wait to make the world a better place with her journalism skills.






Nkomazi Choir

Vanessa attended her graduation with friends and family as she received a diploma in human resource management. Vanessa has been working in the Nelspruit Municipality HR department since her placement as part of her course.





Choir 21

Deborah graduated with a degree in ethics and human rights from Makerere University. She is very excited to make the world a better place.






Choir 22

Eveline graduated with a degree in environmental science from Egerton University, Kenya.







Choir 24

Robinah graduated with a degree in development economics from Makerere University. She hopes to pursue a successful career as an economist or accountant.






Choir 23

Priscilla graduated with a degree in international relations Uganda Christian University. She hopes to become the force of change in Uganda’s governance system someday.






Choir 21

Naomi graduated with a degree in information technology and business computing from Makerere University Business School. Naomi will also be graduating with top honors, with a CGPA of 4.68 (The best grade being a CGPA of 5).






Choir 21

Justine graduated with a degree in ethics and human rights from Makerere University. Justine hopes to reach out to her community through humanitarian work, advocating for children’s rights here in Uganda, so that they too can have their rights fulfilled such as a right to having an education and also living a life free of violence.




Choir 23

Joyce graduated with a degree in tourism from Makerere University.“Through the Choir, I got a loving big family and friends who have always loved and supported me in everything I do.”






Choir 23

Esther graduated with a certificate in midwifery from Nsambya Hospital Training School. Esther is also working with the African Children’s Choir as the school nurse.






Choir 21

Allen graduated with a certificate in clinical medicine and community health from International Health Sciences University, Uganda. She says she cannot wait to make the difference in her country through serving in the health sector.





Choir 24

Grace graduated with an advanced diploma in information systems from Akilah Institute in Kigali, Rwanda. Grace says she feels empowered by her education to focus on building customized web applications for business. Grace also enjoys volunteering with Music for Life outreach programs in Rwanda.





Empower International Academy

Empower International Academy

In December 2016 we broke ground on Empower International Academy. The project seemed quite impossible a few years ago when it was nothing but an idea on spreadsheets and a few structural drawings. The purpose of the project was to deliver an international standard, Christian-character focused education program to the next generation of African Children’s Choir members and beyond.

It was a big leap of faith to move forward with our plans and there were plenty of potential risks, delays, and discouragements. We are a relatively small organization and to pull this off we would need plenty of help. We partnered with Empower African Children, an organization with a similar vision and like-minded team. Engineering Ministries International came on board to draw up plans and manage construction, Living Water International and Ecclesia Church secured a clean water supply. Kwaya Australia and some very generous friends caught the vision and have supported the project financially. We are so grateful to God for the amazing work and people He has brought together to pursue this dream.

Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We expect the construction of phase I to be complete in May with high-quality structures in place and finances managed to budget. Our education consultant has lent international Christian education expertise to the framework of the curriculum, policies and staffing needs and we are confident that our first students will begin classes in February of 2019.

We would like to thank everyone who has been a part of getting this project this far. Please enjoy a few photos from the ongoing construction of the school. God is faithful!

We would like to thank everyone who has been a part of getting this project this far. We have just a few more needs to complete this project, please click here for more information. 









ACC on 105.9 The Region

#30for30 – Meet Peace

As we finish our #30for30 campaign, and begin our anniversary celebrations in Uganda, please watch this inspirational video to learn more about the work we do.

Here’s to another successful 30 years, as we continue to help Africa’s most vulnerable children today, so they can help Africa tomorrow.


#30for30 – David





“I enjoy the work that I do because it enables me to change the lives of the students I teach, to become useful people in society” David begins.

David Khalech is a Sports Trainer at Green Garden school in Kenya. At the age of nine, he joined the African Children’s Choir in 1997, traveling with Choirs 15/16.

Since then he says the ACC has been family to him. And now as a responsible young man, the 26 year old trains the basketball and swimming teams of Green Garden School, something he has been doing for the last four years.

He says, “I am proud to be teaching some of the ACC children at my school.”

David proudly speaks of the positive change he is making in Kikuyu, as a member of a counseling group that speaks out against drug abuse among the youths in Kenya.

“It is my dream to create awareness on HIV/AIDS in Kayole, a community in which I was raised,” he says with a smile. His gratitude is towards the Choir for making him an independent young man, who now takes care of his ageing mother. “ I am thankful to the African Children’s Choir for making me who I am today,” he lastly adds.

#30for30 – Julliat

Only 3 days left to be involved in our #‎30for30‬ campaign – celebrating 30 years of helping Africa’s most vulnerable children, children like Julliat.



Julliat is 8 years old and lives with her mother, father and six siblings in one room, no bigger than your single garage. Her parents limited incomes often fail to provide more than one meal for Julliat and her siblings a day.

Now Julliat is attending our Choir Training Facility in Kampala, Uganda, where she has her own bed and receives three meals a day, as she gets ready to tour with Choir 44.

Help us help more children like Julliat and her family. Give $30 today

#30for30 – Mercy

Mercy Choir 13



Mercy Murugi is an advanced scuba diver and practiced swimmer. She is a graduate of Kenyatta University in Education for Sports and Religion.

The twenty six year old finds bliss in coaching the youths her hobby. While at University, Mercy took lead in sports, which elevated her to greater heights upon reaching the National level in swimming.

She acknowledges, “I find enjoyment in transferring my knowledge and skills in swimming to young people, because I love working with children,”

Mercy toured with two choirs, thirteen and seventeen. And appreciates the God given opportunity which enabled her to go places and keep in school.

#30for30 – Kivulu Slum




Please give $30 today so the African Children’s Choir can continue to be ambassadors for the most vulnerable children in Africa, like those in the Kivulu slum area in Uganda.

Here we hold a weekly Music for Life Center where former Choir members go to bring hope, love, and healing to the children. Through Bible stories, games, dance and music the children are given a much needed relief from their daily struggle and hardship to enjoy just being children.

Help this, and the many other projects funded by the African Children’s Choir, by giving to our #30for30 campaign today!

#30for30 – Nancy

Nancy Choir 12


Nancy Birungi of Uganda toured with Choir 12 and was inspired to study Law by one of her Choir chaperones.

“It was a seed planted in me at a young age and I knew that I would not settle for anything else but the legal profession,” Nancy said.

Prior to being selected to join the Choir in 1994, Nancy lived in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, with her mother and five siblings.

“Life was extremely difficult,” she recalls. “Before joining the Choir I ardently attended a school because we were fed there. The food was nicer and much better than what we had at home.”

“When I travelled with the choir I realized there were people who cared about me and my future,” she continued. “More astonishingly, these people were complete strangers who believed we could have a better future. They changed my destiny.”

After touring with the Choir Nancy completed primary school and went on to attend one of the best secondary schools in the nation (King’s College Budo) through ACC sponsorships. She then went on to study law at Makerere University. After earning a Bachelor of Law degree from Makerere, she attended the Law Development Centre where she earned her Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.

Nancy became eligible to practice law in the courts of Uganda in June 2014.

“I’m fascinated by the concepts of the law, justice, right and wrong,” she said. “As a lawyer, I get to help people solve their problems, and it gives me satisfaction knowing that I’m making a difference.”

In addition to dealing in commercial law, Nancy is part of a group of Christian lawyers who give free legal advice to those who can’t afford it, like women and prison inmates.


#30for30 – Outreach projects