NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Thursday assured the Art of Music Foundation of her total support.
Speaking when she met the foundation’s board members at State House, Nairobi, the First Lady thanked the Foundation for its role in the improvement of the lives of underprivileged children in the country through music and the arts.
The officials who were led by their chairperson Rachel Gota and the foundation’s founder Elizabeth Njoroge briefed the First Lady on the various activities their organization is undertaking to inspire the youth to realize their dreams and transform their communities.
Njoroge was accompanied by the foundation’s vice chairperson Dr Julius Kipng’etich, board secretary Peris Thiiru as well as board members Irene Mukiri, Judith Njonjo and Duncan Wambugu.
The First Lady, who is the patron of the foundation, assured the officials of her continued support saying, “you can count on me to be part of your initiatives”.
In her brief to the First Lady, Njoroge pointed out that since its establishment in 2008, the organization has grown from the first batch of 14 beneficiaries drawn from Korogocho slum to reach over 1,500 youth spread across the country.
She said, the organization has partnered with other well-wisher institutions and individuals to start a school’s initiative through which it teaches music to 50 students in primary schools in Nairobi, Kiambu and Mombasa counties.
“We use the transformative power of music to break barriers and catalyze change. Our students have been able to attain diplomas and degrees in music, with some being employed in some of the prominent education institutions in Kenya such as St. Andrews Turi and in Arusha to teach music,” Njoroge said.
Kevin Obara, one of the beneficiaries of the foundation’s music training programme, recently came back from Germany where he attended a sponsored training on the repair of musical instruments.
He is currently a freelance technician of musical instruments as he plans to set up a fully fitted workshop in Nairobi.
From his little earnings, Obara has built his mother a house and is educating his siblings.
“The students once they excel, they work hard to support others in same circumstances. Self-confidence and selflessness amongst the children encourages us so much to continue with this initiative,” Njoroge told the First Lady.
Gota commended the First Lady for her passion in helping the underprivileged in society especially children in slums saying her support has continued to be a source of encouragement to many.
On his part, Dr Kipng’etich said the foundation is seeking to expand its activities to benefit many more children across the country.
He expressed hope that the government will partner with their institution and help scale up the programme through the new Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) currently being rolled out.
“The transformation that we find in building confidence is great. To learn music, one has to be disciplined in training,” Dr Kipngetich said.
He added: “With the track record of Ghetto Classics we expect to get more well-wishers on board to support our programmes.”
Dr Kipng’etich said the role of the First Lady as the patron of the institution has inspired confidence in its stakeholders and called for stronger linkages between state institutions and social workers to successfully improve the lives of the less fortunate Kenyans.
Apart from Ghetto Classics, the Art of Music Foundation runs a musical and leadership training programme as well as the National Youth Orchestra of Kenya, which is a musical group that brings together talented young musicians from all walks of life.