"Music is such a powerful instrument…When people begin to sing, something happens." - Pastor Daniel Mutibwa, Director, Neema Children’s Choir
The 16 members of Uganda’s Neema Children’s Choir (ages 7-16) radiate such infectious smiles and contagious enthusiasm, you might not realize the incomprehensive hardships that they’ve experienced. When their guardian, Pentecostal Pastor and Choir Director Daniel Mutibwa, established his church, he was moved by the number of neighbourhood children who had really sad stories to tell. “Most of the children, aged three to four years, were from a slum area of Kampala called Line, behind Uganda Clays,” recounted Mutibwa to Mathias Mazinga of Saturday Vision. "The place is notorious for prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse. I discovered that some were homeless orphans, whose parents had died from HIV/AIDS. Others came from poverty-stricken homes, while others had just been abandoned, or abused and thrown out of their homes by drug-addicted parents. One of them was rescued after he was stabbed with a knife by his step-mother and thrown on a garbage heap, bleeding,” says Mutibwa.
“As a church, we decided to start a children’s ministry, which we called Kingdom Child Project, to look after these destitute children. We took them to school and provided for their material needs. Later, we realised that a number of them could sing and wanted to express their pain and deliverance through music. So, we organised them into a 40-member group, named Neema Children’s Choir,” adds Mutibwa. (Neema is Swahili for divine grace.)Today, there are 150 needy children under Mutibwa’s care. He has built a primary school, Saving Grace Academy. The children live in a home called Naioth (the place of rejuvenation) Children’s Home, Kajjansi. Mutibwa has also acquired 20 acres of land at Naluwembe, Mpigi district, where he plans to set up a multi-purpose centre for the children.