A musical road to hope

There are too many worthy causes. That is, there are way more than anyone can afford to donate to. Except perhaps Bill Gates, or Gina Rinehart (if she had any inclination to be generous). For a few months last year, I seemed to get an appeal for money in the snail mail every other day, along with mildly guilt-inducing free pens and stationery.

I guess the fundraising managers behind these various charities were trying to appeal to the very human desire to get something in exchange for our hard earned cash, but the pens missed the mark with me. Anyway, my budget is stretched enough without committing to yet another worthy cause, emotional blackmail or not. I already make regular monthly donations to one charity, and often make one-off donations to a long list of others, usually when:

a. It’s some kind of disaster, like the Queensland floods or the current crisis in Syria;

b. Someone I know is putting themselves out for a cause — like friends of mine who are doing the 55km Coastrek walk to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation; or

c. Someone holds a fundraising event that is also fun and social, like the Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea.

On the weekend I went to an event in Category C: a concert in someone’s backyard, to raise money for building a school in South Sudan.

The evening began with a performance poet, Tug Dumbly (check him out here). He was very funny, but I was there for the music, and this is who we listened to: Nadya Golski and the 101 Candles Orkestra.

We didn’t get the violin, so I guess the full orkestra wasn’t able to make it along, but the remaining musicians more than made up for the violinist’s absence (especially the trumpeter and the guitarist). And Nadya’s gorgeous earthy vocals would almost be enough on their own.

So that’s my kind of fundraiser, and I’d be happy to go to one every week.

Nadya sings in many languages, including Italian and Polish for some of her friends in the audience, Pidgin, and French. This, for example.

She did not, however, sing any songs in languages of the country we were all there to support, so here’s one.

The evening was in aid of the South Sudan Orphan Education program, which was set up by Zacharia Machiek, a ‘lost boy’ who came to Sydney as a refugee during the civil war in what was previously Sudan.

The organisation has already raised enough money to make bricks for the school that Zacharia hopes to build, through the aptly named Hope Road Project, which began with a marathon walk from Tweed Heads to Sydney last year. We were told at the fundraiser that they need to raise another $20,000 to actually build the school, which will be primarily for girls.

Armed conflict has continued in South Sudan even after independence, so I admit to finding it a little hard to be optimistic about the future of this project, although I’m happy to put a few dollars towards it. But Zacharia and his supporters see the school, and the education of girls, as a crucial investment in a more peaceful future for the country.

I hope that they are right, and this investment pays out big time. Then this celebratory video from Queen Zee will truly be forecasting a bright future for this young country.


4 thoughts on “A musical road to hope

  1. Your opening really hit home for me Maamej – I have the same parameters and feel the same small amount of guilt on the opening of the return-address stamps or the paper pad 🙂 I hope, as you do, that this one makes a difference.

  2. A nicely calibrated piece on hope and possibility in Africa.

    I listen to the BBC most nights, and if their stories hold up, there are a lot of positive narratives in Central Africa.

    Furthermore, most of them involve women who have benefited exponentially from digital technologies ie the mobile phone (banking). They have also seen the entrepreneurial possibilities provided by the internet..

    People still think of Rwanda as genocidal nation, write large.

    Do some reading on the country. It is going to produce the first and most successful generation of women biz types in Africa. Full Stop.

    To be sure, Paul Kagane and his govt/party have some less than palatable characteristics ( ie the occasional political murder of opponents) , but his govt is clearly focussed on some great outcomes involving women that are mostly ignored in most other African States.

    Crikey, the male gender in Africa generally leaves me feeling me feeling a bit ashamed and disappointed.

    It is ether Islam or the Big Man syndrome.

    Rubbish choice.

    • Thanks KingTubby. Unfortunately the Australian media mostly prefers to serve us the bad news stories from Africa so too many people are not aware of how much hope there is for and on the continent.

      As for the men – yes, still heaps of patriarchal problems but I also know African men doing great work, especially related to HIV, who are very aware of gender & social justice issues – usually younger and well educated – so don’t give up hope on your own gender!

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