Feedback from our workshops
A word from Sister Mary Kileen from the Mukuru Promotional Centre
The struggles of Children from the Mukuru slums area
Their biggest struggle for the people living within the slums is to get enough to eat. This is particularly acute for one third of the children, due to no income or low income of the parents. There is as yet no social welfare system for sick and unemployed in Kenya. The children from very low income families are in danger of dropping out of school to beg or do small jobs for food for themselves and families.
They struggle with the impact on their lives at home and often turn to alcohol and drugs. There are frequent fires and floods which destroy their homes and through which they lose all their possessions. From a young age they have to cope with danger from paedophiles and rapists
The Impact of the Mukuru Promotional Centre
MPC has enabled over 6,000 thousand children access primary education in their present four schools and another four thousand in two schools they handed over to other parties. Just 500 are able to attend secondary, while two hundred train for jobs. A total of 70 street children get a chance of rehabilitation and preparation for normal school life or work. Another 80 - 100 children with handicaps are given an opportunity to develop to their potential.
All of the children are given at meal at lunchtime. Social workers are provided to work with the poorest children with the purpose of retaining them in school and alleviating the effect of floods and fires. The counsellors advise the students on career choices and ways to move forward out of poverty. Parents are involved in the schools and work with the teachers and social workers for their children.
The Impact of MPC is huge. It can be seen in the number of past pupils doing well in life and able to provide for themselves and families.
The impact of the music workshops for the children of MPC
MPC would be delighted to participate in music and would very much like to enhance the expertise of the students who are naturally gifted. Music education and training can open doors to the students in the world of entertainment. The workshops met their goal of introducing the children to classical music in a good way. Of course the children who have already been involved in choirs gained much more than the street children and children living with disabilities who have had very little exposure so far.
The children were amazed to meet professional singers and musicians who actually could earn their living through their music. This gave them a new aspect to music and performance. It was exciting for them to hear a new type of music that they had not heard before and to experience new sounds. It was thrilling for the music teachers and for those children who have experienced Kenya folk songs and choral singing.
The most valuable aspect was exposing the children to a form of music they had not heard before and the long hours and hard work needed to excel in music. They found out that there is a world of music that they have very little knowledge of and that they can learn about and one day participate in.
Feedback from the Refugee centre in Hessen, Germany
"A lot of children suffer traumas and have only a few opportunities to have any relief from their constant struggles. The whole situation of fleeing from their homeland and the circumstances they live in without knowing about their future is quite hard. The children also suffer under the stress their parents are living and have to take responsibilities that normally a child should not have to face. They have to translate for their parents and deal with topics that are normally adult responsibilities. We can soften these difficulties of the children just in parts by giving them the attention they need as a child and offering them as many pedagogical opportunities and events as we can. We are very interested in participating in future music projects with Operaffinity and the children enjoyed the experience. It helped the children and their parents to forget about their problems and relax at least for that short moment. Music can achieve positive psychologic effects, by participating in the project the children experienced a feeling of self worth which gave them confidence for a moment. We think that the fun-effect had a positive impact for the children. Maybe some of them got in touch with classical music for the first time, so that it was something new for them, but maybe not all of them recognized that it was about classical music. The most valuable aspect was the change of the daily routines, to see new faces and interact all together as a community. The children really lived a happy moment and enjoyed it."