I have written previously about choirs which hail from various African countries, but today’s choir is something extra special. This is the African Children’s Choir, made up of singers aged 7-12 from a number of African nations including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda. Though they are from different countries, these singers have one terrible thing in common. All have grown up in extreme poverty, and many have lost one or both parents to AIDS and other poverty-related diseases. The story of the choir’s inception is a moving one.
“38 years ago, Ray Barnett was on a humanitarian trip to war-torn Uganda when he gave a small boy a ride from his decimated home to the safety of another village. During the journey, the child did what he knew how to do best – he sang. That simple song of dignity and hope became the catalyst for a program that has changed the lives of thousands of children and reshaped the future of the African continent. Ray said, “When I went back to Canada and people were not very interested in Uganda, I remembered this small boy. I knew that if only a group of these beautiful children could go to the West, people would be deeply moved and would certainly want to help.”
The African Children’s Choir organization not only helps support the families and villages of its performers, it also invests much of the money it raises to support and encourage the basic education of grade-school-aged children across the poorest areas of the continent of Africa. Donations help buy school uniforms, food for families with school-aged children, water filters for schools, and hygiene products for students.