Reaching street children through music

Life for children on the streets in Mbale, Uganda, can be a living nightmare. Our Ugandan partner, who requested a shipment from Crossroads, describes how street children are often beaten and raped by older boys and adults, and scour garbage dumps to find some leftovers to eat and survive.

Crossroads’ partner is an NGO in Uganda_5Mbale, who is reaching out to these street children in a unique way: through music! By taking children from the streets into their centre and teaching them how to play music, it gives them something which is beyond price: confidence and a positive self-image. Since starting less than 10 years ago, they have seen hundreds of children pass through their programmes, many going on to reunite with their families, and some even securing  jobs as music teachers around the country. The band makes some money from performances, which allows the children to afford a basic living away from the street.

In order to help more children, this NGO has  applied for a shipment of goods from Crossroads. An especially urgent request is for band instruments and equipment: brass instruments, band uniforms, amplifiers and more. Giving any of these goods will help bring real change to the lives of street children in Uganda!


 

A78When Henry was 10, his father passed away, leaving his family in poverty. Shortly after, Henry ran away from home, hoping to find a better life on the streets.
Instead he fell into a life of drugs and violence. He begged at bus stops and walked around  town looking for scrap metals to sell to scrap dealers for a few coins. He was raped and abused by older boys when he wanted to secure a place to sleep overnight. “Life was not as easy as I thought it would be,” says Henry now.
Thankfully, Henry found our partner’s centre and was given the opportunity to leave the streets and join their band. Today, Henry performs in front of an audience and is going to school. “Music saved my life,”he says. He has confidence and hope for a much more meaningful life.

 

This shipment will include instruments to continue giving 120 children like Henry a chance to escape lives of fear and crime on Uganda’s streets.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Uganda Snapshot

Population: 37.58 million
Capital: Kampala

Uganda is a fertile, land-locked country in East Africa, in the Africa Great Lakes region, with a tropical climate.

37.7% of people in Uganda live below the international poverty line of US$1.25/day and children form the largest group of Uganda’s poor. Mbale region, where this shipment is going, is one of the poorest in the country.

A81

The Refugee All Stars, recorded by record label Epitaph Europe B.V., began with a group of six musicians who lived in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, during the era of the country’s horrifying civil war. In a rebel campaign named ‘Operation Kill Every Living Thing’, soldiers descended on Freetown and caused a panicked mass exodus, with thousands of civilians fleeing the region, and ending up in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. It was in one of these camps that the six musicians found each other and began singing songs of hope, pain and freedom for their fellow refugees. Today the group has returned to Freetown, recorded CDs, been the subject of an internationally-acclaimed documentary, and joined hands with many other musicians, still advocating for refugee issues through their uplifting, buoyant songs that speak the African refugee story.

 

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