MUSIC IN AFRICA
Music in Africa: Conclusion
Early keyboard lesson
Playing guitar is fun!
Which finger goes where?
Income helps to support Paul and his family
Income helps to support the Music in Africa ministry
Many recorders, so many can learn at once
Facts & Figures
Amount raised: £2,673
2 keyboards with stands
2 guitars with stands
guitar straps, picks, case, stands and strings
music lessons, books and exam for Paul
TV, aerial and DSTV connection for cafe
generator, with installation
counter, tables, storage and mirror for cafe
The instruments that I was able to buy have benefited the children in many ways. We were able to start a class of recorders with the children and since the children did not have recorders to do practice, I decided to be leaving the recorders with them so as to help them practice. This has really improved their skill of playing. The children have also been able to play some musical melodies as result of using the keyboard to learn and practice. The only challenge we have is that I don't have a keyboard to leave with them to help them practice. I'm trusting God to provide one for them to help them practice. This has always left smiles on their faces after they realize that they can make some music. It's always a joy to see the potential in them.
The Idea and How it Developed
What can music mean to children who have suffered a lot? It starts to bring sparkle into their eyes and it helps to release all kinds of emotions that have been almost deadened. Its therapeutic value is immeasurable. (Read the stories of two families here.)
Local contacts told us about Paul Ssemugabi*, an African mission worker supported by iTeams, a British Christian charity. Paul has worked with disadvantaged children for a number of years, and is also a keen musician. Recently he sensed a challenge to raise finances through his musical skills, and also to combine those skills with his children's ministry.
Paul has therefore come up with a plan to get started on this venture. He will need musical instruments, and working and storage spaces. There are also plans for his own musical development - and for his wife's cafe business, which gives them another source of income.
Natalya's Fund has agreed to raise money for Paul's musical instruments and premises. If we raise more than is required for the music teaching we will firstly make the excess available for Paul's musical development and the cafe; if it is not needed there it will be put towards our next project.
* For security reasons that is not his real name.
Here's what Paul has written about his plans:
I have categorized the idea into three.
Arts - I have been teaching Music, that is guitar and Piano, to children in schools, and this has been purely to raise support to enable me to do my ministry. For the last couple of months, the Lord has been putting into my heart the desire to walk with the disadvantaged children and to nurture the talents they have. One of the ideas that came to my mind was to use the talents that I already have to teach them how to play guitar, the piano and recorders.
Disadvantaged children - The art ideas will go hand in hand with the disadvantaged children and for a beginning, I would love to start with the refugee children that I have been working with then later extend it to other groups of disadvantaged children. Over the past years that I have taught other children I have accumulated teaching materials, so I will not need as many for now, but maybe later. I plan to work with a local fellowship so as to source a venue for the lessons for now, but will later require a venue for the lessons and storage. There are two Music bodies from the UK that are internationally recognized, that is London College of Music (LCM) and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), and I would love the children to take their exams later once they get to that point.
Personal Development - Over the years as a missionary it has been a little difficult to raise my support, but thanks to the Lord he has let me understand that I do have gifts and talents that I can use to raise the support that I needed. I had a desire to do music long before I became a missionary but I did not have any training or experience, so through the help of friends I have been able to teach myself and have undertaken some LCM and ABRSM exams. It is my desire to continue doing the exams, which are offered on a yearly basis.
We started a small food business in my little town which is run by my wife, and it had picked up but it looks like it’s gone down again. We are thinking and planning to upgrade it so as to attract more customers as we seek to raise more support through it. We would love if you would come alongside us as we endeavour to do this.
Our target is £2129 (which includes a sum to be paid to iTeams to help with Paul's pastoral and logistical support, and leadership development). To see how we arrive at that figure please click on COSTINGS to download a PDF document.
One of our trustees raised money by entering a challenge walk called 'Where Ravens Dare'. Click on the button to find out more.
How You can Help
We have slightly altered what Paul wrote and taken details out to protect his identity.
Above: Paul with a student
If you have any ideas for helping us raise the money please go to our "Get Involved" page.
Paul has sent us some more information - about himself, his plans and the people he is helping:
I am the last born in a family of 12 children: five girls and seven boys. I am married to one wife, and we are blessed with one lovely boy and we are expecting another child in the next like three months. I started attending a church which was just next door to the college I attended and sooner or later I was pulled by the Sunday school ministry. Later, I decided to teach those little ones. After I finished my college, I felt in my heart the Lord calling me to work with children. I therefore volunteered in a children's home for seven months. After the seven months, I met a friend's wife who was working with an international Christian charity. When she heard that I was working with children, she shared with me about the charity and what they were doing, because she was in charge of the children's ministry. It was difficult for me to decide but finally the Lord spoke to me and I joined the charity in the year 2005. It has been a journey, but all in all the Lord has been good to me and has taught me many lessons.
My wife has run a small cafe business for the last two years with the help of other friends and we did a small research and found out that a number of people like to go places where there is entertainment such as football, music and so on, and so we thought that having a TV connected to an African digital service provider could be a way of pulling customers into the cafe, hence increasing the sales of food, snacks and beverages.
The fueling and servicing of the generator: have priced it for a year hoping that by the end of that one year, the business will be in a position to work for itself; have also priced the travelling costs for six months.
The Refugee Children's Ministry
I am involved with Refugee ministry here. We partnered with other mission organizations and a refugee church born some few years ago. I am in charge of the children ministry of the refugee church. I am involved in preparing lesson and craft materials for the children. I am also involved in planning for fun activities and feeding programme for the children. Once every year, the refugee church organizes a family retreat for the members and it's my responsibility to prepare children programmes for the entire period of time we are out. Our desire is to reach out to these children in a holistic way. We realized that some of the children were not attending school since the government was not allowing them in the state schools. Two Western charities got together and came up with a scholarship programme where kids from the refugee church and other refugee children not necessarily from the church would have an opportunity to attend school. Since I was the one in charge of children ministry, I became the one to run it. I have run the programme for the last like five years. I make sure that I identify those kids who need the scholarship, I make an appointment with the parents and have them apply for it. In conjunction with the parents, we look for schools, pay school fees and other requirements, buy them uniform and then they are ready to start school. I usually pay the schools visits to make sure that they are attending school, and also to find out how they are performing in their academics and how we can help them better their results. Once I pay the fees, I usually do the accounting of the money used then I write a report of the expenditure. I also do write reports of how the kids are doing in their academics and also the requirements of the coming school term.
The Way Forward
I believe that before one start teaching the children about God, a relationship needs to be built. The teaching is an interactive way of getting into the kids' lives and also a way of getting through to the parents, since without the role of the parents it's very hard to get hold of the children. The music teaching will be an entry point to be able to gather the children since not all come to the refugee church. Once they come, after we are through with our music lessons, we can have time to learn about God.
Just Some of the People Paul is Helping ...
"There is a family of four: a mother and three children. They originally came from Ethiopia though they are Somalis. The journey has been a rough one for them. They did spend days walking on foot before they got to Nairobi. Their father had left them when they were very small and gone to Canada. Things have been difficult because they have become Christian and so they face persecution from Muslims.
"The other is also a family of three children and a mother. The mother is a refugee from Somalia. She has two girls from one father and a son from a different father. They were displaced by war in Somalia and they too spent many days walking to Kenya and finally arrived in one of the camps in the north. They spent some time there and that's where she met the father of her son and they started living together. They later separated and she moved to the City of Nairobi where she joined the fellowship of refugees. She also has gone through persecution as a result of becoming a Christian."
... And How he is Helping them
"This is how I hope to help them. First, they are part of the refugee fellowship we attend every Saturday, and the kids are part of the kids fellowship I lead. As I had shared with you earlier, my hope and plan is to nurture the talents that are in these children and expose them in different arts, especially in music. I will be teaching them how to play both piano and guitar, and walk with them along that line to the extent of having them do international guitar and piano exams.
"The difference it will make to have the instruments is that I dont have to borrow any whenever I am doing lessons with them. Secondly, it will be possible for me to use them any time I want, and also it will be possible to have them for their practice. It will also help me to get other students who will pay to be taught piano and guitar, hence raising my support for the ministry to the children I desire to minister to. Hope this helps. Thanks once again."
A Day at a Street-Children Project, and a Retreat
"It was a moment of helping them connect and worship God through songs and dance. It’s such a memorable time for me! We had lots and lots of fun and the kids were eager to learn new things. The only challenge we had was the limited time and the instruments. A week later we had our yearly Somali retreat whereby my friend and I took more time to engage refugee children in songs and dance as we worshipped the Almighty God. We also had lessons on how to play keyboard and guitar. Amazingly, some kids were able to play well some famous songs like 'Mary had a little lamb'. I do give thanks to God for allowing me to make an impact in the lives of these children in this small way."
Music in Africa: First Lessons
"I'm really excited about what's happening with the music ministry. We had our first lessons last Saturday with the new instruments and the kids had lots of fun. Here are some photos."
Paul, 11 March 2015