November 9, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis
From the voice of one small boy, a whole choir has been formed to help provide education to over 52,000 children.
The African Children’s Choir is a faith-based non-profit humanitarian and relief organization. The organization is a branch of the non-profit organization Music for Life. They will be performing in Pocatello and Idaho Falls this next week.
Thirty-four years ago Ray Barnett, the founder, was doing work with Christians who were being persecuted in Uganda. On one trip he was giving a small boy a ride, this boy’s parents had been killed in a civil war, but still, the child was singing praise songs the whole ride.
“Ray was just completely captivated by the resiliency, the joy
Ray thought that if he could show the western world the beauty and joy, and strength of Africa’s children they would surely help. So, in 1984 the first choir was brought on tour.
“Our motto is, ‘Helping Africa’s more vulnerable children today so they can help Africa tomorrow, so we are trying to educate as many people as we can.” said, Tina Sip a representative of African Children’s Choir.
Education in Africa
Sip said that without education it is very difficult to break the cycle of poverty but there are thousands of children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school.
“The children you see on the stage are really ambassadors for a thousand or more children every year that are receiving an education from the choir on the road.”
Music for Life has 35 different education programs that are supported.
For any child that is in the
As the children travel they get to practice their English and understand that they don’t have to just do what their parents have done, but that it is also ok to dream.
“They start to think, ‘oh I can do something with my life, I am not relegated to what I have seen in my short life,’” Sip said. “’I can start to dream I can start to envision myself doing something more.’”
Experiencing Life Outside Africa
Not only can these children learn more, but they also will experience things any child would love to do.
They can go horseback riding, attend zoos, or go to an amusement park. In
“I just got a note from the team this morning, snow was falling when the children woke up- a light snow but snow nonetheless- and every child prays that they get to see snow when they go on tour.” Sip said.
The program the children will be performing is called ‘Just as I am’ which is familiar hymns put to African rhythms. Sip says people who have seen the children before comment saying, “if only we could put that energy in a bottle.”
Sips favorite part is the tribal drumming.
The choir will be at the Cross-Point Community Church in Idaho Falls November 14 Wednesday at
The concerts themselves are free, but donations are expected to help provide these children with education.
“We long for something more and the children I