Faith and Culture: Watoto Children's Choir coming to Airdrie
People who know tell us that if the world was a village of 100 people, only five of them would be North American. Three times that many would be Africans. Eighty would live in sub-standard housing. Fifty-three would live on less than $2 per day. Thirty would be unemployed, while just thirty-three would be able to read.
Accordingly, I’m delighted to inform you that our city has an opportunity this Friday evening to hear a group of young people from a part of the world where exploitation, HIV/AIDS and warfare are far too common. As a service to the community, our church is pleased to welcome the Watoto Children’s Choir for a 7 p.m. concert on April 13.
“Watoto means ‘children’ in Swahili,” said Fraser Edwards of Airdrie, retired founder and former CEO of The Water School, an initiative that has taken him to Africa dozens of times in recent years. “I highly commend the message of Watoto and applaud its leadership for a most worthy organization. You will not want to miss their presentation of Beautiful Africa.”
Beautiful Africa challenges listeners with messages of hope, culture, music and children. As Watoto continues to expand its reach within Africa, Beautiful Africa tells a story about Watoto’s vision of hope for the orphan crisis in Africa which has been a result of the socio-economic effects of poverty, HIV/AIDS, war and the child soldier crisis that plague the continent.
Watoto was started by Canadian missionaries, Gary and Marilyn Skinner, as a response to the overwhelming number of orphaned children and vulnerable women in Africa whose lives are ravaged by war and disease. The mission of Watoto is to rescue an individual, raise each one as a leader so that they in turn will rebuild their nation.
At the moment, Watoto cares for more than 2,500 children in three separate villages in Uganda. There are also three Baby Watoto homes in operation that care for infants up to the age of two who have been rescued from tragic circumstances to be restored both physically and emotionally. Watoto’s long-term goal is to replicate its model across Africa starting with Juba, South Sudan in 2012.
The Watoto Children’s Choir travel as advocates for the millions of vulnerable women and children across Africa.
The group is made up of 22 children and 10 adult chaperones from the Watoto Church in Kampala, Uganda. Each of these children has suffered the loss of one or both of their parents as a result of war, disease or the HIV/AIDS virus. Despite the situations of hardship and despair that these children have experienced, they are here to share a message of hope and the reality of God’s love in their lives. Everyone is invited to what promises to be a memorable event for our city.
Tim Callaway is pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church in Airdrie. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org