Eight year old Chris lives with his grandmother and 11 year old brother. In 2006, the two came to live with their grandmother after the loss of both parents to the South Sudanese Civil War. Agnes, his grandmother, works at a nearby shop, where she sorts beans and sells them to earn a living. While at home Chris and his elder brother, Jonathan, help Agnes with all the house chores including the cooking. “My grandmother cannot do the washing, so my brother and I are able to help her with the house chores,” says Chris.
Life for Chris’ grandmother is hard. From her low paying job she struggles to pay school fees for both her grandsons. “When my grandmother fails to pay school fees, I am sent away from school and she sometimes has to get a loan to pay for me to go back to school,” Chris sadly comments.
After school little Chris washes his own uniform, and after his meal, he fetches water for his grandmother to use when she returns home from work. “I want to grow up and be able to help take care of my grandmother because she cannot wash or be able to clean for herself,” he says. Chris has little time for play or adventure like most 8 year old boys, taking the time to help care for his grandmother and their home instead.
Chris, who is now in primary four class, has been attending one of our Music For Life Centres in Kampala since the beginning of this year. At Music for Life Centres the children are given all-round teaching in Music, Dance and Life Skills, as well as Bible Teaching. It is a place where children can go to just be children, to forget the daily hardship and struggle of home life and enjoy learning through music and play.
The Music for Life Centre programme is one pioneered by university students, who were former African Children’s Choir members. Having come from similar schools and situations before joining the Choir, these students find comfort and peace giving back to their surrounding communities through the programme, by sharing their love, joy and life stories with these little ones. Most of the Music for Life Centres are located in the heart of the slum areas of Kampala. Once a week, the students meet and play games, share a meal with the children and encourage them through the hardships they face while at home… giving them hope that they too can become whoever they wish to become in the future.
Chris, like many other children who attend the Music for Life Centres, appreciates the good that comes with the programme. He joyfully says, “I would love for the centre programme to continue since we are taught a lot of fun games and music, which makes us very happy.”
Chris dreams of becoming a Doctor someday to help make people feel better and to make a better life for his grandmother, an ambition he has formed from the confidence he has gained through his participation at the Music for Life Centre. He has been encouraged during the centres that he can become someone important in life. “My favourite Music For Life Centre activity is the dancing. It keeps me very energetic,” Chris shares.
You can help more children, like Chris, gain confidence and life skills by making a donation towards the running of our 8 Music for Life Centres across the slum areas of Uganda and Kenya. Make your donation today.