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Kenya's 'Ghetto Classics' helping slum kids with music

Kenya's 'Ghetto Classics' helping slum kids with music

This is culture

A community programme for children from an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya is helping the youth with opportunities to better themselves and their community.

Started in 2009, the Ghetto Classics has helped budding musicians. At a recent concert in Nairobi, the Ghetto Classics Ochestra band showcased their prowess in musical instruments.

“We have objective evidence particularly with the kids we have been working with over a long time and the kids whom you saw performing here, they are doing so well in school. You know, that stability, that teamwork, having that stability in their lives. And also music opens up another part of their brain. They do so well in school and they become good kids,” said Elizabeth Njoroge, the project’s director.

One of the beneficiaries from the programme is Kelvin Obara, who has learnt the art of playing the horn.

“You find that at home most of the time, you can even go without food. So this going without food as the only remaining boy in the house, I feel like that should not be happening. So you find that I don’t to have anything to do to counter attack that. So you find that I’m stressed up but if I go to the music room, I take my tuba and play it out. After playing it out I realize that I’m not stressed up until I go back home,” he said.

On the other side of town, an international school offers musical classes to students. The school has a course for students who want to pursue a professional career.

Music teacher Ian Mbugua says, “Literacy is not just reading and writing, because we’re all not brilliant in reading and writing and we’re not supposed to be, we’re all different, we’re different talents. So if a child has a talent in music, that is what should be developed, just concentrate on what they are good at, sadly that’s not what we’re doing. Math, English.”

Initiatives like Ghetto Classic and courses offered in private schools are helping to promote the performance and appreciation of art music in Kenya.