Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:16

Watoto Children’s Choir inspirational on many fronts-in Swift Current, Medicine Hat

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
On April 24, Watoto Children’s Choir will share its vibrant, original African music, dance routines, and life-transforming stories with the southwest as part of its Beautiful Africa: A New Generation tour.

Since 1994, Watoto Children’s Choir has travelled internationally, ambassadors for the millions of children in Africa who have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, war and poverty.

Each of the children in the choir has suffered the loss of one or both parents. They live in Watoto Children’s Villages, where they receive the care and nurturing they need to grow up as productive citizens of their country.

The new tour is a testimony of the new generation of leaders emerging out of Watoto.

“The concert lets the children tell their own stories about how they joined the group,” explained Choir Team Leader Sam Kimera. “It’s a concert of celebration, where the children sing in both English and local dialects.”

Kimera has been working with Watoto for the past four years, but has been a member of their church for much longer. As Team Leader, Kimera co-ordinates communications and organizes performances for the group.

Currently, the choir is on a six-month tour across Canada, travelling form Vancouver to Toronto before returning to Africa in July.

Since its inception, 55 choirs of Watoto children have travelled globally, offering them an opportunity they would otherwise never get — to see the world. The choirs have been to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and the U.S., among other countries.

“It’s a great experience for the children,” Kimera noted. “Travelling opens up their view of the world, and the performances help them see that they can be great. It raises their expectations. We raise these children as leaders, so that they can change the face of Africa and impact other parts of the world, as well.”

To date, Watoto has impacted the lives of more than 2,500 children who have been orphaned and abandoned, and rely heavily on the support of the communities they visit.

The new tour is an opportunity for Watoto to raise awareness about the situation, and encourage Canadians to sponsor a life and impact their future.

“Watoto has changed the lives of these children, who had no food and no clothing, but now have joy in their hearts and can sing and dance,” Kimera said. “Together, we can do so much more for them. It is ultimately the responsibility of the world to take care of our children.”

The tour also features fair trade items for purchase, made my women in Watoto’s Living Hope program. This program aims to restore dignity to vulnerable women in Africa, targeting HIV-positive single women, returnees from abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and teenage mothers.

Watoto Children’s Choir will present Beautiful Africa: A New Generation at Swift Current’s Eastside Church of God on April 24, at 7 p.m.  The concert is free and open to the public. They will also be in Medicine Hat April 21 at Hillcrest Church, 3785 – 13 Avenue SE at 6 p.m. On April 22, they will be at the First Assembly of God at 10:30 a.m. (Phone: 403-526-2946 ) and Medicine Hat Christian Reformed Church (403-529-5650) at 7 p.m.

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