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:

 

Shirley
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.

 

 

 

 

 

Linnet
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.

 

 

 

 

Patricia
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.

 

 

 

Sandra
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.

 

 

 

 

 

Vanessa
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.

 

 

 

 

Deborah
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.

 

 

 

 

 

Eveline
Choir 22

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robinah
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.

 

 

 

 

 

Priscilla
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.

 

 

 

 

 

Naomi
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).

 

 

 

 

 

Justine
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.

 

 

 

Joyce
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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Esther
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.

 

 

 

 

 

Allen
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.

 

 

 

 

Grace
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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create an AIDS-Free Generation

Logo's of the participants at the UN AIDS event in Washington DCA special evening of music, storytelling and advocacy is being held on the eve of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. This year marks the first time the U.S. will host the conference in more than two decades.

The event will take the audience on a historical journey through the history of the AIDS epidemic and the world’s remarkable response to it. A host of high profile celebrities will join the event, lending their voices in solidarity for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The event will look to the future of AIDS and unite participants around our common goal of an AIDS-free generation.

The African Children’s Choir are performing at the event alongside other notables and entertainers including Patti Austin, Barbara Bush, Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, Herbie Hancock, Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, Kweku Mandela, Joan Osborne, Kay Warren and John Megrue.

Ray Barnett, president and founder of Music for Life and the African Children’s Choir will also attend the event.

For more information, refer to the UN AIDS press release on the event.

A Director's Blog – Uganda

African Children’s Choir Primary School

There are roughly 25 staff members at the African Children’s Choir Primary School, including teachers, dorm parents, a nurse, cooks, and guards/gardeners. Our visit was a good time to truly appreciate the incredible job they all do, evident in the Primary 7 exam results each year, and the general atmosphere at the school.

The students have a feeling of seriousness toward their studies, a joyfulness, and an appreciation for the opportunity to be in such a school. It was great to see the students in class, walking quietly from class to class, enjoying their lunch, playing soccer and generally moving through their usual school day.

The campus is beautiful. The grass is growing, flowers are blooming, buildings have been painted inside and out, and there is a lovely mural on the front wall of the classroom block.

The last Sunday that Sally and I were in Uganda, we joined the 140 students for their Sunday morning worship service. The P3 class led the singing – altogether it was six African Children’s Choirs lifting their voices in worship, clapping and singing with all their hearts.

Choir Alumni

That same Sunday afternoon Sally and I visited the homes of some of our grown-up Choir alumni. Our first stop was the home of Jessica and Christopher Katumba. Jessica is one of the oldest of our first Choir young people. She has been married to Christopher, a former chaperone from ACC4 for approximately 10 years. In between working full time, raising a family of four boys, and being active in church, Jessica has pursued her Master’s Degree in Counselling.

What a pleasure it was to visit the home they have built over the years – literally brick by brick – with their four darling boys.

After we left the Katumbas, we drove a short way to Barnett and Diana Twesigonmwe’s new house. Just across the road from them is Barbara Kayaga’s home, where she lives with her two adopted sons.

New Career Brings New Life!

 

Congratulations to Katherine Wanjiku from ACC10!

Katherine recently completed her post-secondary schooling and is now a Registered Nurse in Nairobi.

She is currently working in a hospital in Nairobi and enjoys being a nurse, especially welcoming newborn babies into this world! Katherine helps deliver an average of four new babies per day.

“I am eternally grateful to God for having got a chance to be sponsored by Music for Life,” she says.

Director's Report From Kenya

Music for Life director Alex Palmer and I took the same flight from Uganda to Kenya. I was pleased to see the base/office. It is quite able to host a visiting team or a group of children! There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms in a nice area.

Green Gardens Primary School

Mwai, David, Jerusha, and I paid a visit to Green Gardens Primary School, home to 22 former Choir members. In lieu of having our own African Children’s Choir Primary School in Kenya, our relationship with this excellent school is the next best thing.

The campus is beautiful; well named as the gardens around the school are lovely. The school is owned by Dr. and Mrs. Keiyoro and they love having ACC alumni at their school.

We were provided with a very nice conference room, complete with large conference table and chairs. It was a perfect place to have special Choir family time. The children were excited to see us and to tell us about their school activities and achievements. They all appear happy and healthy and there were many hugs all around. We had an excellent visit together! The children were very pleased to show us around the campus, particularly the swimming pool.

Music for Life Centers

Mwai and I joined Jerusha, Mary Mwikali and Stephen Kiringo (ACC15) at the Music for Life Center session at Grace Care Children’s Home. There were approximately 50 children present, with a number of children looking in the window from the outside.

There is a second Music for Life Center on Mondays at Kicoshep School in the heart of the Kibera slum. Approximately 50 children attend that session as well.

The schools really appreciate the Music for Life Center after-school program. They have continuously said how valuable the program is. Teachers comment that most of the students who attend the Music for Life Center activities are more outgoing and answer questions in class. Their self-esteem has been raised since joining the program.

Choir Alumni

What a true highlight it was to visit four of our Alumni in their places of employment! Mwai and I first drove to the more upper-class section of Nairobi to a beautiful shopping mall. There we met up with Pamela Aketch (ACC8). Pamela is a sales representative at Palacina Interiors, an absolutely stunning interior design store. It was impressive to see Pamela; what a capable, sharp young woman. I couldn’t have been more proud!

Ben Waweru (ACC8) also works in the mall. Ben formerly worked at the famous Carnivore but has been transferred to this very classy restaurant, Tamambos where he is the main chef. This job gives Ben much more room for creativity in preparing menus, etc, and he really loves it!

After visiting Pamela and Ben we met with Beth Atieno, a former Choir member who also toured as a chaperone. Beth is now teaching at a private school in Kenya. I was so impressed with her classroom, it was evident that she takes her teaching seriously and really connects with her students.

Last but not least, we drove to a very new and modern office building in the heart of Nairobi where Mark Masaai (ACC10) now works. Mark is on staff at CCTV Main China Corporation TV Channel.

Mark introduced us to every member of staff, close to 50 people, proudly telling them that Mwai and I were the people who raised him from the time he was seven years old (as representatives of his ACC family. I was really touched by that, knowing that some of our young people have been embarrassed for folks to know they are orphans. This job is a huge step up in prestige for Mark; he loves his job and really appreciates the tools he has been given to enable him to have such an opportunity.

The Choir meet the Queen

The African Children’s Choir® got to meet Queen Elizabeth II outside Buckingham Palace along with other performers for her Diamond Jubilee including Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Stevie Wonder, as a part of the celebrations.

Live Jubilee performance of “Sing”

For those of our friends who were unable to watch this on television, here it is!

Introduced by Australian musician Rolph Harris, the African Children’s Choir together with the Common Wealth Band, Sir Andrew-Lloyd Webber and Gary Barlow perform “Sing”, the official song of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, live at the fountain outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s residence, for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

"Sing" is unveiled

“Sing” the official song for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee created by Gary Barlow and featuring the African Children’s Choir has been presented to the world. Watch the video below…

Choir sings on Documentary

The African Children’s Choir sing with Gary Barlow for Jubilee Song

Choir selected to record song and participate in BBC documentary:
‘Gary Barlow. On Her Majesty’s Service’

The Choir recording for the BBC Documentary "Gary Barlow: On her Majesty's Service"It was with great excitement that we received a phone call from the production company working with Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber on the commissioning of a song for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert on 4 June 2012. Whilst seeking inspiration for this song, Gary Barlow decided to travel to certain Commonwealth countries that have particular significance during periods of the Queen’s reign. Kenya was selected, as the Queen began her reign there upon learning of the death of her father February 1952. The African Children’s Choir has worked in Kenya since 1990 and were delighted to play their part in this song.

On 20 March 2012 the African Children’s Choir, consisting of 12 Ugandan and 8 Kenyan children travelled a short journey from Nairobi to a location in the Ngong Hills. They recorded their part of the song ‘Sing’ and were later happy to learn that Lydia Inzikuru, the African Children’s Choir soloist would be used to start and close the song. They also performed two African Children’s Choir pieces to the delight of Gary and the film crew. This will be featured in the BBC documentary ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ which will be broadcast in the next few weeks.

“We are genuinely honoured that our children were selected by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber to sing and participate in this incredible opportunity”, said Sally France, East Africa Director. We are especially grateful to our sponsors; friends and donors for their continued support in helping us raise and educate Africa’s most vulnerable children for the last 27 years. Without this support, we wouldn’t be enjoying the level of international acclaim we have reached.

The song, ‘Sing’ will be available for purchase on 29 May 2012.

Student Ministries


Once again a highly anticipated team from Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI) in Abbotsford, British Columbia made its way to the African Children’s Choir Primary School for a little over a week.

It was a great time for the ACCPS students as they learned more about Canada – the favorite animal was none other than the polar bear – and had fun participating in new games and crafts. The week was topped off with a nice huge mango for all the students on the afternoon they said their goodbyes.

The MEI team brought many smiles to all the students, but as the time together came to an end, it was interesting to see how the students who came to reach out, were in many ways the ones being ministered too. The MEI crew left challenged to make a difference and improve their surroundings back in North America. It was encouraging to see the bond that had been created in this short time and a twinkle in the eye of the administrators to know that the students at the African Children’s Choir Primary School are not only making a difference when they were performing all over the world but also while they are at home in Africa.