Uganda: Reaching street children through music
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 Mbale, 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!
When 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.
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Population: 37.58 million
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.