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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Performers from Uganda use theatre in Barrow to tell of struggles

THEIR smiles were as bright as their native dress – and their voices filled the hall at Furness Academy in Barowwith joy.

The message attached to their performance was a serious one – but it was difficult to believe the children of the Watoto choir had lived young lives filled with unimaginable horrors. The choir spent a week in Furness performing to different audiences.

Lynn Pinkney, a Year Two teacher from St Pius X Catholic Primary school, took a class to watch the choir at Furness Academy.

She said: “The kids loved it. We have recently been doing a topic on Africa and we thought it would be a lovely way to wrap up the topic and the children really enjoyed it. I thought it was just so inspiring, it made the children aware of how lucky they are to have their parents still at home.”

Each child in the Watoto choir has suffered the loss of their parents, either through war or disease, and they now live in Watoto children’s villages in Uganda, where they are given a family and a school to attend. They performed to four schools at Furness Academy on Thursday – and it went down a treat.

Children from St Pius, Sacred Heart, St Columbus and Holy Family primary schools joined in while the children from the Watoto choir sang and danced, in a theatrical representation of the struggles they had overcome.

Dressed in florescent colours the children, accompanied by four adults, not only sang uplifting songs together, but spoke to the audience about the hardships they had encountered. They interacted with the children in the audience and brought up two pupils, a girl and a boy, from each of the four Catholic primary schools to dance with them.

The choir even taught everyone a few Swahili words, which is their native language in East Africa, including Watoto, which means “children” and Afaayo, which means “Jesus cares”. The choir also performed at St Bernard’s School last night.

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