Sunday, 19 July 2009


Today we visited our old church to see the Watoto Children's Choir. If you haven't heard about the Watoto organisation, you should visit to read more about it. It is an orphanage in Uganda, which is home to children mainly orphaned by HIV/AIDS, some of whom are also former child-soldiers. It is set up a bit differently to the conventional orphange. Watoto is set up as a series of 'children villages'. Funds are raised to build houses, and in each one lives a 'mother' (single women who are often widows) and eight children -they become a family. There are a number of homes in each community, as well as schools, a church and community hall, a water project and a medical clinic. The homes have running water and bathrooms, the children are well fed and cared for, and education extends from kindergarten to vocational training. It's really awesome!

The Children's Choir is a group of children from the Watoto villages who travel around the world, sharing their stories, singing songs, dancing and raising awareness.

Aside from being very talented singers and dancers (you couldn't watch them and NOT move), these children are so incredibly inspirational. Every time one of them spoke and shared their story, I was moved to tears. These children have been through things that we could never even imagine. One little boy spoke of being abandoned by his mother at the hospital after his birth. He has never seen his father. He was initially taken in by his grandmother, but he was a sick baby and she feared that he was infected with HIV/AIDS, and she too abandoned him. Watoto heard about him, and brought him to one of their villages. He tested negative to HIV/AIDS. He now lives in a house with a new mother, seven brothers, and has aspirations to be a pilot.

They also showed a clip of an interview with a teenaged former child-soldier. Can I just say, we should all be grateful every single day that we were born into the world we live in. There are projections that by the year 2011, there will be over 50 million HIV/AIDS orphans in Africa. Many of these will be targets to be brain-washed as child soldiers, and essentially trained to be terrorists.

We worry about the stupidest things; we think we've got it hard when fuel goes up 10cents; yet we live an incredibly blessed and abundant lifestyle. Here are these kids, who have been through more horror and heartache in their 10 odd years of life than we will ever know in a life time, and they're praising God for the hope they have found in Him, for His grace and love. It made me feel so small. And challenged. Inspired.

I hope they inspire you too.

1 comment:

  1. Well written Zoey, their stories really make me grateful even more with how much I have been blessed - I'd love to see them sing one day xx


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