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It was the sixth time that Children in Africa in 2012 invited an African children’s choir to Denmark to give concerts – and this time it was our own choir, The Pearl Children’s Choir, with children from the schools supported by Children in Africa. The Choir was be on tour from 30th January till end of May 2012. During that time they gave more than 50 concerts in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and The Netherlands.
In May/June 2011 auditions were organised in Uganda at five very different schools through out the country. The music teachers of the schools had each chosen 22-23 pupils for audition. The entrance examination was carried out by the leader of the Choir, Mr. Tonny Mbowa Hellingtone, and the conductor Ms. Jemimah Nasanga Kisa. 27 of these children were invited to the Boot Camp in Zzana, Kampala in the summer of 2011. They had a thorough medical examination, they received teaching on general subjects and their abilities in singing, dancing, drama and language were tested once more - and the 18 children of the Pearls were chosen. It was almost X factor-like.
Five of the children came from a poor village school in the Lyantonde area. Five children were from one of The Children’s Sure House schools in a village 26 km north-west of Soroti. Seven children were from The Truth Primary School in Lira and one girl was from Bukoto Community Primary School in Kampala, built with support from DANIDA.
Some of the childrens’s parents died of AIDS and some parents were killed by theLord’s Resistance Army. Some lived with one parent, some alone with their sisters and brothers, the so-called Child Headed Households, others with grandparents, family or guardians. Some of the schools they attended were in poor condition, and the teaching at some of the schools was at a very lowlevel.
None of the 18 children of The Pearls, from 8 to 12 years old, had ever before worn underwear, shoes, socks, eaten with a fork and knife. They have grown up with too little food, often of poor quality. They had never had a proper shower or slept in a bed with a mattress and bed linen.
By the end of September 2011 the 18 children met again with the staff members at the Boot Camp in Zzana. The children had a bath every day, medical examination and three daily and whole some meals. In the morning they practiced singing, choreography, dancing, drama and practiced choir singing with five different teachers. Twice a week they practiced with the band.
After the return to Uganda in May 2012, Children in Africa has taken on a special responsibility for the 18 children. They were all send to good boarding schools near the area they came from. The staff members of Children in Africa in Uganda in Kampala are monitoring the progress of the children.