War, poverty and disease have a taken a toll on countless families in Africa. Millions have died and millions more live in fear and desperation.
Out of so much pain and suffering, the beautiful voices of hope have arisen.
The Watoto Children’s Choir will perform Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at Salem Middle School in Apex. The event is free and open to the public.
All of the children in the choir have lost one or both parents and now live in the Watoto Children’s Village in Uganda.
Yet, they have found the strength to share their stories as a way to raise awareness about the millions of orphans who still need help.
“They are very inspirational,” said Jeanine Bedell, the Watoto U.S. communications director. “Their performance is so uplifting. They really want people to understand what is happening in Africa and they look at their performances as an opportunity to reach so many people.”
HIV/AIDs has devastated much of the continent. Statistics show that 14 million children have been left orphaned by the epidemic and nearly 11 million children die annually before their fifth birthday.
Watoto, a holistic care program, was started in 1994 as a response to those tragic conditions.
The choir was formed the same year as way to reach people throughout the world about the plight of so many children.
The choir members also benefit from the experience, which serves as leadership training for the next generation.
“Through the choir’s Concert of Hope, we share a message of transformation by telling the story of Africa’s rescued orphans and women,” said Watoto founder Gary Skinner in a written statement. “We hope to reach out to audiences with the message of Christ’s healing power.”
The Watoto Children’s Choir will return to the area later this month when they perform at Hope Community Church in Raleigh. Performances are at 4:15, 6 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 19 and 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. on Jan. 20.
For more information on Watoto and the choir visit www.watoto.com.