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African Children’s Choir Veterans Among Victims Of Kenyan Violence

ICC Note

“While parts of Nairobi , the capital of Kenya , seem to be peaceful at the moment, our Choir Children who come from different parts the country – from the slums of Kibera, Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa , are affected by the violence. Kibera and Eldoret are among the worst affected areas.”

By Dan Wooding

Thursday, January 10, 2008 Kenya (ANS) — Shocking stories of attacks and displacement of former members of the African Children’s Choir are being reported following the violence in Kenya in the wake of Presidential elections.

A one-time African Children’s Choir member Anthony Were and current journalist in Kenya recently wrote a chilling first hand account of the tragedy that is taking place there now and reports that some veterans of the Choir living in Kenya have been affected.

“In the Rift Valley, Eldoret has been the worst hit in the recent violence. Lucy and Grace from choir 10 live there,” he said. “Their homes were looted and they have been displaced from their houses. Another former choir ten members, the ever bubbly and happy, Peter Kagwe was shot with an arrow which had to be surgically removed from his body at a health centre. Two other girls, Katherine and Carol also had their homes looted. Food in those parts is scarce. In the Kibera slum, Florence of choir 15 is safe but after having to flee from her home.”

Following this report the African Children’s Choir founder Ray Barnett set on a mission to do all he can to get not only his Choir children help, but also any others that may have been left without a home.

After witnessing years of suffering through Idi Amin in Uganda and other violence that has taken place in Africa Barnett states, “While parts of Nairobi , the capital of Kenya , seem to be peaceful at the moment, our Choir Children who come from different parts the country – from the slums of Kibera, Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa , are affected by the violence. Kibera and Eldoret are among the worst affected areas.

A spokesperson for the African Children’s Choir, said, “Those of our Choir children who have lost their homes are scattered, sheltering in different churches and our staff on the ground can’t easily get to them. We are doing our best at this time to locate them as we would like to help them rebuild homes that have been burnt, replace school uniforms and other basic items that have been destroyed. We anticipate that substantial help will be needed to assist us to do this and urge you to help us, help them both financially and through prayer.”

The African Children’s Choir is a world renowned Choir that has been working with the most vulnerable children in Africa for 23 years, raising awareness of the plight of the orphaned and abandoned, but also showing the beauty, dignity, and potential of the African child. With a focus on education the Choir is currently caring for several thousand underprivileged children throughout Africa . These are children who could have lost all hope, but have overcome their circumstances and now are making a positive impact on society by being a voice for millions of children suffering in Africa .

Anthony Were was born to a deaf mother and alcoholic father. He joined Choir 6 in 1990 in the first Kenyan choir. After touring and then going to school he graduated with a journalism major in 2004 and began working shortly after for the Nation Media Group where he reports on this current Kenyan violence today.