Ivan Kamwine

“I will never forget my first day at Watoto. I cried when I was given a new pair of shoes, my own bed, new clothes and a nice house. I could not believe that someone would do such a thing for me. I was overwhelmed with joy, ” recalls Ivan Kamwine.

Now 17 and in junior high school, Ivan dreams of becoming a lawyer. He knows that it is up to him to study hard to make his dream come true. He has the backing of his Watoto family, access to good education and the support of sponsors around the world who have given him this opportunity. He knows who he is in Christ.

But that wasn’t always the case.

At the age of 7, Ivan’s only thought was where their next meal would come from. He had a distant dream of being able to go to school, but never thought that would ever be a possibility. But God had a plan for Ivan and his siblings.

“I am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to be educated through Watoto. I am getting equipped with the knowledge that I need to fulfill my potential,” says Ivan.

Prior to joining Watoto, Ivan’s father had passed away leaving three children with a jobless mother.

“I remember my mom washing clothes for the neighbours or digging people’s gardens so that she could earn money so we could eat. But the money was never enough. I never went to school because we couldn’t afford it,” says Ivan.

When Ivan’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, she was taken back to the village since the family did not have money to take her for treatment. A month later, she passed away. “I was heart broken and felt I also needed to die,” recalls Ivan.

Ivan and his siblings were left in the care of their aunt who was barely surviving herself. “When my aunt didn’t have enough food for us, we would go over to the neighbours to beg. At most she would give us food once a day,” Ivan recalls.
In 2004, Watoto rescued Ivan and his siblings. They now live in Watoto’s Suubi Village.

Despite adversity, Ivan is on a steady course to becoming a leader in his community. He already is. Ivan currently heads up Watoto’s Suubi Village cell administration, looking after the spiritual well being of hundreds of residents. He attributes this to the values of responsibility and care that his Watoto mom instilled in him.

“When mom is going to town over the weekend or is sick, I am left in charge of my little brothers and sisters. She has taught me how to cook, do house chores and care for my siblings. This is where I first learnt the meaning of leadership and being responsible,” he gratefully recalls.

Without faithful sponsorship from generous people around the world, there is no hope for children like Ivan and his siblings. We need your help. Sponsor a child, change a story and impact a nation. Go towww.watoto.com/sponsorship.

 

A New Sound From the Heart of Africa

Africa is growing to greatness. In today’s Africa, people are migrating from their villages to the ever-growing metropolitan cities. They are increasingly connected with what’s happening outside the borders of their homes, cities and countries. Innovation and modernity are central to the new African lifestyle.

During the day, the streets are bustling as people rush to catch the next bus to their work places. By evening, as offices close, people dash out to socialise on sidewalks, lined with the latest shoes and designer bags, and vendors who are ready with roasted meat. Music blasts from every corner of the city, and somewhere a new and unique sound is heard. It’s a colourful blend of traditional drums vibrating in motion to the rhythm of synthesizers. A fusion of exotic melodies and electronic instruments, which convey joy and express the life of a new Africa.

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This is the sound of Oh, What Love – Watoto’s latest music album, which will be performed by the Watoto Children’s Choir in 2015. Watoto’s hope is that the music will travel everywhere, that it will permeate people’s cars, schools, churches and homes, and reach out to different generations.

Oh, What Love is a fresh production right from the heart of Africa, produced and written locally, and performed by the children of Mother Africa. It is the kind of music that will connect the children on stage with the heart of people in the audience.

“We have embraced a lot of modern beats, but have not forgotten our roots. This is a new kind of Watoto that the world needs to know,” says Comfort Asianzu.

When people listen to African music they expect to hear drums, harmonies and melodies in the vocals. This new production offers all of that and more. Watoto has synced African elements with modern concepts to create an Afro-Urban sound.

Africa is a diverse continent, with different cultures and beliefs, but we find unity in our music. “In this production, we have used a number of different languages from different groups across Uganda. We all feel represented,” says Roy Kaddu.

New beats are evolving throughout the week, fleshed out with heartfelt harmonies to create powerful songs of worship and celebration. These songs tell the story of separation, suffering, redemption and restoration in the lives of children who were once orphaned. Take a sneak peek of what’s to come in this video.

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Oh, What Love will be travelling to the UK, USA and Canada in January 2015. Book the choir here.

The remainder of Choir 61’s QLD adventure!

Choir 61 thoroughly enjoyed the rest of their time in Queensland in May with many adventures and a lot of fun. More awareness has been raised and many new sponsors have joined the Watoto community!

In mid-May we had the opportunity to perform and share our stories with many people at the Watoto Gala Dinner & Concert. We enjoyed the food and company as we mingled with guests throughout the evening. We were so excited to have been a part of this night which saw over $23,000 raised to support Watoto’s self-sustainability initiatives.

Uncle Mark & Uncle Ronnie auctioning off a beautiful painting which was donated

Uncle Mark & Uncle Ronnie auctioning off a beautiful painting which was donated

The Watoto drummers showing off their skills during Beautiful Africa

The Watoto drummers showing off their skills during Beautiful Africa

At the Watoto Gala Dinner & Concert, Uncle Mark & Uncle Ronnie auctioned off a ‘date with the Watoto Children’s Choir.’ Multiple people bid to have the experience of the Choir visit their workplace and, in the end, it was won by Stonehouse Wealth Management.  This visit was a fantastic time of interaction and connection with new friends. A young girl named Sky gave a speech about the Watoto Children’s Choir and what they do which was fantastic.

Meeting the Stonehouse team

Meeting the Stonehouse team

Sky giving a speech about the Watoto Children's Choir

Sky giving a speech about the Watoto Children’s Choir

Employees of the company were challenged to participate in a cultural dance with the children which was great fun. The choir then had lunch with the employees which was enjoyed by all.

The cultural dance challenge!

The cultural dance challenge!

Sing & dance like the Watoto Children's Choir

Sing & dance like the Watoto Children’s Choir

Dance off

Dance off

Choir 61 also had the opportunity to relax at a beach on the Sunshine Coast. The children had a chance to go for a walk along a beach and get a feel of the water. This was all of the children’s very first time at the beach and they were amazed that people actually swim in the massive waves!

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We were also SO excited to be given the chance to be part of the Friday evening service at Hillsong Brisbane. It was a spirit filled, energetic, exciting time as the choir sang and danced and shared their stories. We started the service with worship where the choir was able to attend and be part of the service. We were then invited to the stage to perform for the remainder of the service. It was an amazing experience as so many people got involved – trying to sing and dance like the children. Tears rolled down the eyes of both the young and the old as the children shared their stories. It was a time to reflect on how much God has done for the children and the hope they have in Jesus as they sang “Not Alone.”

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hillsong

Thank you so much for having us Queensland! We are now travelling around New South Wales for the month of June. To find out where we will be performing, please visit http://www.watoto.com/the-choir/see-the-choir. Bring your friends and family and enjoy!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more behind the scenes updates from Choir 61 on the road!

Love Choir 61