Masaka Children Africana: on not giving up and returning childhood to Ugandan youngsters


Six-year-olds Kaggwa Jonbosco and Kakuza Muhammad and five-year-old Prince Sunai Ayaan are equally wearing tartan crimson shirts and smiles on their faces as they arrive on the International Village in Dubai. The social media stars of Masaka Children Africana, an NGO primarily based in Uganda’s Masaka district, had been simply on some amusement rides and preparing for his or her dance efficiency on the theatre. Following them are two males in white T-shirts and ID playing cards round their necks, who appear like they’re of their 30s. Like how any guardian would fuss for his or her baby, the boys, who had been from the NGO that had accompanied the youngsters on their first go to to the UAE, introduced the youngsters to the stage.

Males from a Ugandan non-governmental group (NGO) – Suna Hassan, CEO, director and founding father of Masaka Children Africana and choreographer Kitamuwesi John or ‘Johnny’ as the youngsters sat on the fringe of the stage and dangled their legs. Backside flooring. I sit subsequent to Johnny who tells me that like a shadow, he follows the children and Hassan in every single place. The youngsters see Johnny and giggle, their faces lighting up with pleasure – a sight that brings smiles to all of us.

Nonetheless, you too can see the disappointment within the eyes of Johnny, who tells me that the NGO has over 25 youngsters who dance and sing – as you might have seen on his social media account masakakidsafricana, which has over 5 million followers on-line Huh.

“As we speak, we introduced solely three youngsters to carry out in International Village they usually characterize the youngsters who’ve been left behind in Masaka,” says Johnny.

Masaka Children Africana makes use of music and dance to carry out the potential of youngsters.
Picture credit score: provided

physician, instructor and music

I ask the children just a few questions, however they solely smile and have a look at Johnny for a type of approval. Johnny insists that he converse to me immediately in English and that is after I study his identify and age and that John Bosco needs to be a lawyer when he grows up. “I’ve discovered that justice is vital and I wish to assist my folks,” he says.

Muhammad says, “I wish to be a health care provider to assist and maintain my folks.” Ayaan needs to be a musician as a result of he “likes to sing and dance”.7960a104-7068-479f-aed8-df7d3b26c836

I wish to change into a health care provider to assist and maintain my folks.

– Kakuza Muhammad, who’s six years previous.

At no level in our dialog does anybody check with the Masaka Children Africana group as an NGO, as a substitute Hassan and Johnny check with it as a “home” and its members as “a neighborhood.”

I wish to change into a lawyer. Realized that justice is vital and I wish to assist my folks.

Kagwa Jonbosco, six years previous

“At our house, we have now over 25 youngsters from over 10 tribes who’ve misplaced both one or each dad and mom and have gone by among the worst experiences a toddler can face. and in our neighborhood, we have now a program referred to as the Group Empowerment Program by which we assist many youngsters in Africa. There are numerous orphans, there are lots of who stay on the streets and all of them wants assist.

“There are over two million orphans in Uganda. Poverty, famine, illness and civil battle are taking lives. We are attempting to assist these younger folks as a lot as attainable. We offer the youngsters with a house and entry to training. medical care. We concentrate on giving youngsters the life abilities they want for future success.

at all times able to sing and dance

As we speak, the long run lawyer, physician and musician had quarter-hour to showcase his singing and dancing skills in addition to a little bit of performing in a packed theatre. I ask them how lengthy it takes to study the steps and the children say “not very lengthy”.

“They’re so proficient and it simply takes just a few seconds or a couple of minutes for them to meet up with the choreography, whether or not it is one thing new or one thing we thought they would not have the ability to dance,” Johnny explains.

All members of the neighborhood work with me to assist full these steps. We add youngsters’s performances on social media to unfold the message that Ugandan youngsters or any baby who has misplaced a lot nonetheless has a lot potential for a vivid future.

– Kitamuwesi John, Choreographer at Masaka Children Africana

“All members of the neighborhood work along with me to assist provide you with these steps. We add the youngsters’s performances to social media to unfold the message that Ugandan youngsters or any baby who has misplaced, nonetheless have a lot potential for a vivid future once they get the care they deserve.

“They’ve traveled to Turkey as soon as to carry out, possibly a month and a half in the past, however that is their first journey to the UAE,” says Johnny.

I ask the youngsters how they had been feeling earlier than the efficiency and whether or not they had been having fun with their keep within the UAE. Nonetheless, nothing appears too troublesome for the courageous little trio they usually present no indicators of nervousness forward of their efficiency.

“I take pleasure in every little thing, it isn’t troublesome,” says Bosco.

“I am simply feeling… okay,” says Prince, whereas Mohammed whispers, “It is good.” The youngsters stated they missed house, particularly their mates, as one may inform they had been used to performing with them.

The youngsters had been dancing to songs by native Ugandan artists. “After they’re acting on stage, they’re well-dressed in matching outfits, however once they’re again house doing their movies, they create out the picture of African children. Their outfits on the movies, The colours they put on characterize the colours of their tribe and the place they arrive from,” explains Johnny.

“We select music and dance to carry out the potential of our youngsters as a result of everybody loves music. It’s like drugs. In case you are in a nasty temper and also you hearken to a tune, your temper adjustments. Music is a language that everybody can perceive.”

desires and hopes

It is simply after sundown and the theater is packed. The youngsters are on stage and performing their stunts. Everyone seems to be swaying and clapping alongside to African tunes and each step the youngsters take is greeted with applause and cheers.

Masaka Kids Africana Dancing

Throughout college holidays, youngsters create their very own music they usually share a message of hope and inspiration by these songs.
Picture credit score: provided

Unknowingly, inspiration was spreading by the air for every one in every of us current right here. The youngsters, who’re really gifted within the expertise of dancing and singing, are stuffed with pleasure and hope with none show of anger or remorse about their lives earlier than Masaka Children Africana began taking good care of them.

After the efficiency, the three youngsters meet Hassan and Sunai within the again, who’re watching the dance efficiency of one other group. With out taking his eyes off the continued efficiency, Johnny explains that the dance troupe again house solely rehearses when the colleges are closed throughout holidays or on weekends. Nonetheless not everybody within the group needs to be a dancer or singer as the children are inclined to focus.

There are some who dream of turning into academics. they [children in Masaka Kids Africana] We’re at all times instructed that we will additionally train our youngsters or the elders in the neighborhood.

– Kitamuwesi John, Choreographer at Masaka Children Africana

“There are individuals who dream of turning into academics. They at all times inform us that we will additionally train our youngsters or the elders in the neighborhood,” says Johnny.

We additionally do different cultural actions. Not all youngsters have the identical skills for dance and music. Even we elders do not have that a lot intelligence. That is what we all know greatest, is not it?

– Sunaina Hassan, director of Masaka Children Africana

In response to Hasan, ‘When folks see us on social media, they suppose that we simply sing and dance. We additionally do different cultural actions. Not all youngsters have the identical skills for dance and music. Even we elders do not have that a lot intelligence. That is what we all know greatest, is not it? So again house, there are people who find themselves good at soccer. Good at stitching. Some are good at Carpentry. Others are good at poultry farming and farming. So our predominant cultural actions embrace this stuff as effectively.

There are children who’re as younger as 2 years previous and our coach and I attempt to train the children in line with their age. Then there are the youngsters from our native villages whom we cater to by the Group Empowerment Programme.

– Kitamuwesi John, Choreographer at Masaka Children Africana

“There are children who’re as younger as 2 and our coach and I attempt to train the children in line with their age. Then there are the youngsters from our native villages whom we cater to by the Group Empowerment Programme. We maintain greater than 200 youngsters from the encircling villages. We give them meals and cash to go to high school. We give them every little thing a toddler wants, regardless that we have now restricted sources,” provides Johnny.

main with expertise

The NGO was the concept of ​​Hassan, who based Masaka Children Africana in 2013 to assist others. In response to Johnny, Hasan himself was “a avenue baby”.

Suna Hassan, director of Masaka Kids Africana with children

Suna Hassan, director of Masaka Children Africana, poses with the youngsters after their efficiency.
Picture Credit score: Gulf Information

“Suna has grown up understanding every little thing that occurs on the street. He knew how dangerous issues had been occurring in our space. So he thought, what can I do to cease it? How can we take away these children who’re occurring the road and a minimum of make them higher human beings sooner or later? How can we make these children love folks as a substitute of being seen as some children on the road?

Following us on social media is one other option to assist us. By way of social media everybody can see our message and everybody can see what we’re doing.

– Sunaina Hassan, director of Masaka Children Africana

“Suna needed to boost these children. This isn’t a simple factor to do. and if we will [support and educate the children]So others will probably be impressed to assist our trigger.”

Hasan, who has been busy partaking the children and bringing them collectively, says her message is “for everybody who has tried and needs to surrender”. He speaks in his mom tongue, the Ugandan language Luganda, which Johnny interprets.

In response to my background and even the life of those children, it’s actually very onerous to stay. However I by no means gave up. By no means in my wildest desires did I think about that someday I might be up on one in every of these steps within the International Village and folks may very well be clapping and cheering for him.

-Suna Hassan, director of Masaka Children Africana

“I inform you do not surrender. In response to my background and even the life of those children, it’s actually very onerous to stay. However I by no means gave up. By no means in my wildest desires did I think about that someday I might be up on one in every of these steps within the International Village and folks may very well be clapping and cheering for him. I thank everybody who supported us, everybody who likes the youngsters’s efficiency and follows us. Following us on social media is one other option to assist us. By way of social media, everybody can see our message and everybody can see what we’re doing.”



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