Music of hope: Uganda children’s choir group gets together with Uruma City children

Music of hope: Uganda children’s choir group gets together with Uruma City children

Watoto choir members performing their song and dance in their first ever in-Okinawa performance on January 16 at the Uruma City Akamichi Community Center.

January 20, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 16, a get-together was held between the Watoto Children’s Choir and children from Uruma City at the Akamichi Community Center.

The Watoto Children’s Choir is a choir group from Uganda, Africa that cares for orphaned children and women that have been abused.

On the following day, there was a first ever concert in Okinawa by the Watoto Children’s Choir at the Uruma Shimane Art Theater.

The Okinawa Watoto Executive Committee and the Akamichi Residents’ Association organized this get-together.

They want to instill hope in the Uruma children through cultural exchange.

During the get-together, the Watoto choir performed song and dance, while from the children from Okinawa performed their powerful Eisa dance.

Participants dancing in tune with the Watoto Choir’s song.

The Watoto Children’s Choir was established in 1994 at the Watoto Church in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

The organization fosters the independence in children who have lost their parents and/or their homes due to AIDS, conflict, and/or war, along with women who suffer from abuse and do not have a place to work at.

With three hubs in three separate villages in Uganda, the Watoto Children’s Choir strives to establish a sense of community, along with promoting a better life through educational and medical means.

The Watoto has seven choir teams that travel and interact with children around the world via song and dance.

About 40 people comprised the Asian choir team this time and visited Okinawa for the first time.

Since September, this team has performed in Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore for the past six months or so.

Asian team leader Ivan Bryan Byarugaba described the Watoto’s activities and the state of affairs in Uganda.

He said, “The kids here have been through a variety of experiences.

Through this cultural exchange, we want to share the children’s life stories.

” Chelty, age 12, who was unable to attend school due to her mother’s neglect, said she wants “to become a pilot” in the future. Since she and her mother have joined the Watoto, they have been receiving livelihood support and an education to become independent. She smiled and said that now “Mom has started to take care of me and I can attend school.”

During the get-together, Yusuke Maeshiro, who performed the Gushikawa Kasshin Taiko, felt that he was brought closer to the people because of the get-together.

He said, “Everyone was friendly and were easy to talk with.”

(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)

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