Midlothian will soon be hosting its first visit from the Kenyan choir ‘The Singing Children of Africa’ as it undertakes its 2016 UK ‘I Smile’ tour.
The choir is made up of children supported by the charity Educate the Kids, which was founded in 1998 by Maureen and Ian McIntyre, of West Lothian. When they visited Kenya they were moved by the poverty, poor health and lack of basic facilities.
Maureen set up the charity and sponsorship programme which offer the poorest children access to an education in the area of Utange, near Mombasa. The charity’s vision is to ensure that children in Africa have their needs met, their rights upheld, and their dreams fulfilled through education.
Over the years numbers grew and new facilities were created – new schools, water, electricity, and computers. The charity now gives more than 600 primary school aged children the opportunity to study. A further 100 students are sponsored in secondary school education.
Maureen formed The Singing Children of Africa, which she first brought to the UK for a 12-week tour in 2006. The British public fell in love with the children’s singing and dance moves. The money raised on this tour funded the building of an orphanage.
The Singing Children of Africa will be coming to the UK once again from August to October. The aims and objectives of the tour are to raise funds to be able to expand the school provision, meaning education for even more children.
From the children’s point of view, it offers an extremely valuable educational, cultural and musical experience.
Children stay with local families who have volunteered to host them in each area that they visit, and the choir performs almost daily, sometimes twice a day, in venues from schools to church halls to shopping centres, collecting donations for the charity.
The choir will give a free concert at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Newbattle Road, Dalkeith, on Monday, August 29, at 7pm.