Singing for an education

_CE12895Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Primary Caringbah students moved to a new beat when the African Children’ Choir arrived for a cultural workshop and performance.

During the workshop on May 8 students from Kindergarten to Year 6 learnt to move to African drum beats and heard about the traditional costumes worn in Uganda, where the choir members, all aged between 9 and 12, are from.

The choir’s visit to the school on May 8 was part of an Australian tour which will help to raise funds to provide care and education to children from poor parts of Uganda. Their next performance was at Wollongong’s WIN Entertainment Centre on May 17, supported by Australian singer and songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke.

Choir Director Evah Nambatya joined the choir herself at age 7. She said the organisation had provided more than 52,000 children with an education. The choir’s new recruits train for up to six months before touring Australia, Canada and America.

“Everybody is interested to join but the need is the very first basic qualification that you must have,” Miss Nambatya said._CE12844

“Most of the children who are picked for the choir are the most vulnerable, the poorest. Some are orphaned or have lost either parent, but some parents can’t provide for their children who go to bed hungry. So it’s the need at home and the age  – 7 to 9 –  then the ability to sing and dance.

“They have to audition.The ones who don’t make it into the choir still get sponsored and get educated through the money that is raised by the ones that come on tour.”

The young performers travel with textbooks from Uganda and teachers too. “It’s more like being home schooled,” Miss Nambatya said.

“They are very smart to do those things at the same time, and now they are very conversant. It can take 15 or 20 minutes [to learn a song or dance] and they will be good to go. They pick it up very fast.”

  • Read more about the visit in the Term 2 edition of About Catholic Schools.

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