South Norfolk talent helps struggling orphans
By Sandie Shirley
2009: A Wymondham church’s showcase for cross-cultural talent has helped the plight of suffering orphans in Zimbabwe, many whose parents died of AIDS.
This month’s massive celebration of sound, rhythm and dance raised over £500 to provide school equipment and uniforms for youngsters in a poor township on the fringe of the country’s capital in Harare.
Mill Lane Gospel and Norwich Youth for Christ Choirs as well as Barnham Broom Primary School children from the Africa Motto Drumming Group took the spotlight on November 14 at Wymondham High School. The event, staged by the town’s Hope Community Church was hailed a resounding success.
It was helped forged by Barnham Broom teacher and church member, Elisabeth Louis, whose class of ten and 11 year-olds staged a breathtaking performance of African dance and rhythm.
“With energy and passion, it was their best performance yet, producing nothing but wonderful feedback,” says Mrs Louis.
The 20 youngsters’ cultural expertise has been gained through a Widening Opportunities’ musical grant from Norfolk County Council. “The scheme enabled me to work with children who had never touched a drum before - it has been a great success,” says their African teacher, Anna Mudeka.
The pupils’ performances have helped raise over £1000 for the Rugare Primary School where Anna was a school girl. The money has helped ship two and a half tonnes of educational equipment to Zimbabwe and provide education and school uniforms for the orphans at the African primary school through the Tambai Community Project which Anna set-up this Summer.
“I was fortunate as a girl to live in a community that had pride and hope in the future but today growing up in Zimbabwe is a different story. More than 500 children at the Rugare Primary School are orphans - most of their parents died from AIDS. Grandparents often look after the children but they face a daily struggle to feed and educate them,”
says Anna who kick-started the Project to fund schooling for 20 orphans for a year. Education is important, bringing learning and the chance for further study abroad explains Anna who came to the UK 15 years ago.
“The Barnham Broom children are helping other children who are much worse off than themselves. They are giving them hope and that is all we can fight for,” says Anna.
“The children have found a purpose in their performance since I have always impressed on them the importance of using their talents for the good of others. I hope there are more opportunities for fund-raising performances to help the project before they leave school in July,” says Mrs Louis, whose church donated a further £250 to the event proceeds, making a £750 total.
Pictured top: African teacher Anna Mudeka. Pictured below: Barnham Broom teacher and Hope Community Church member, Elisabeth Louis.