Name: Rheanne Lechkobit
Role: Operations Director, North America
Based in: Langley, British Columbia
Rheanne’s first experience with the Choir was as a junior chaperone with the first African Children’s Choir in 1985. As the daughter of the African ‘s Choir’s founder, Ray Barnett, Rheanne had grown up watching her father help others in-need, so touring with the Choir was a natural step.
Rheanne then went on to complete 2 years studying Business and Finance at a business school in Canada before diving into the world of work. Her first job was a Government finance role in the fishery and ocean sector, in which time she also got married – this period was followed by a role in inventory control & procurement before Rheanne moved to the UK for a year.
After having four children Rheanne went back to working for Music for Life and the African Children’s Choir full time in 1997. Now, as Operations Director, Rheanne oversees finance, administration and field work for the organization internationally.
We asked Rheanne a few questions to get to know more about her, and her important role within this inspirational organization…
What has been your most outstanding memory whilst working with the ACC?
In the UK they had an annual televised award ceremony called ‘The Hearts of Gold’ where they would celebrate people who have performed unsung acts of outstanding kindness or courage. My father, founder of the African Children’s Choir, was awarded one. We went over to the UK to watch him accept the award from TV personality and campaigner Esther Rantzen. It was a very proud and memorable occasion.
What achievement are you most proud of?
The amount of children Music for Life and the African Children’s Choir has helped educate throughout our 28 years. We’ve educated over 50,000 children in parts of Africa’s most underprivileged societies, and helped in excess of 100,000 children through relief projects… and the number continues to rise.
Can you describe your job role in 3 words?
Not quite three, but I would say my role is fulfilling, challenging and requires much faith.
Do you have any advice for people reading who may be thinking of becoming a volunteer or hosting the Choir children?
Volunteering is an amazing opportunity that will change a person’s life forever – for the better.
Not only do we impact the lives of these vulnerable children, they too impact the lives of the many people they meet on tour. The children are a blessing, and there is no better way to benefit from the joy they bring than to host them in your home. They have a true ministry, which people don’t realise until they interact with the children in person, either at a concert or in their homes.
Looking to the future of the ACC, what are you most excited about?
I am looking forward to expanding Music for Life Centers so that we can reach more children. Music for Life Centers bring much needed escapism for suffering children and act as havens to their everyday struggle where they can learn, thrive and develop in a safe environment. I also look forward to hearing more successful stories as our Choir children graduate and become adults.