Songs of hope: Ugandan kids tour Australia


The African Children's Choir is touring Australia for the second time, raising funds to pay for their own education and that of more than 50,000 other children.

The Choir was founded in 1984 by Canadian human rights activist Ray Barnett to give African children from impoverished families a chance to get an education.

Director of Development with the choir, Scott Lambie, says Mr Barnett was inspired by the children’s poetic songs.

“Our founder was in Uganda at a time of civil war, and he picked up a small boy who he gave a ride to into town. And the child sang. And that gave Ray the idea to bring a choir to the western world and show them the beauty of the African child,” he said. 

More than 1000 children from Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana have toured the world since the choir was founded, raising funds to pay for their own education and that of more than 50,000 other children.

The choir currently in Australia is made up of 18 children and past choir members, including Abraham Kiyingi who is now the Choir Manager.

Mr Kiyingi joined in 1986, two years after it was established, and he's now giving back to the organisation that gave him hope.

“I joined the third choir after I lost both my parents due to the war raging in our country,” he said.

"I'm a graduate; I graduated in computer software management. I've toured the world, I've been to America, Canada and Australia. And I've been given a chance that, you know, I otherwise would not have had."

Mr Kiyingi says he sees part of himself in the children of the choir today.

This Sunday the Choir will share their stories with 1000 Australian singers in Wollongong for the Wollongong Massed Choir Spectacular at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

Performers will include the Sydney Children’s Choir, the Gondwana Cambelltown Indigenous Children’s Choir and pop-opera singer Kate Miller-Heidke.  

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