Malawi is a small, beautiful country in east Africa surrounded by its three larger neighbours – Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. It’s one of the world’s poorest countries, with over half its population living below the poverty line and 25% living in extreme poverty. 80% of the people live in rural areas and eke out a living through subsistence farming.
Inadequate health care, the high maternal mortality rate, the AIDS pandemic and diseases such as malaria have resulted in 1 million orphaned children. Most of these children live with members of their extended family while some simply live with siblings in what are known as ‘child-headed households’. Orphaned children are among the most vulnerable and needy and for the majority there is little hope of completing their education and of breaking free of a cycle of poverty and unemployment.
Malawi Music Fund was founded in 2006 by one of our trustees, Glenys Hughes, when she returned to Orkney after a year spent teaching in Malawi. She had been able to experience the difficulties facing Malawi’s orphans and, as a musician and teacher, to appreciate the importance of music and dance in Malawian life and culture. The visit of a Malawian choir to Orkney in 2006 was the catalyst for the launch of a fundraising appeal and so Malawi Music Fund was founded. Its aim was to use music and the arts to transform the lives of some of Malawi’s orphaned children.
We began in 2007, with a week of activities for orphaned children in Mulanje, a rural area in southern Malawi near the border with Mozambique. Glenys, together with teachers from Orkney with expertise in art and sport, travelled to Malawi, joining with Malawian colleagues to run a residential music camp for 40 children. This first week set the pattern for the future and established the group as Likhubula Children’s Choir.
In 2017 we celebrated our 10th anniversary with a special performance attended by choirs, government ministers and local dignitaries.
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