Visually impaired children from India staged a spectacular choral performance in Kigali on Wednesday night, in solidarity with the people of Rwanda ahead of the 24th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi (Kwibuka 24).
The official weeklong remembrance period starts Saturday, April 4.
At the gala, held under the theme: ‘Make me a channel of your peace’, the boys, from the Happy Home And School For The Blind in Mumbai, belted out inspirational songs in English, French, and Swahili to highlight the plight of the visually impaired.
The event took place at the Grand Legacy Hotel in Kigali.
The 18-member delegation of children and members of the school administration travelled to Rwanda under the auspices of Rwanda Renaissance and Rwanda Calling initiative.
Rwanda Renaissance is an organisation that promotes tourism, investment and culture between India and Rwanda, and frequently organises business, leisure and tourism trips for Indians to Rwanda.
The evening kicked off with a 20-minute performance by the eight-member school choir, with one of the teachers, Nitesh Sonawane, playing keyboard.
Their first song was Make me a channel of your peace, adopted from the words of the Italian Catholic deacon and priest St. Francis of Asissi:
“Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is despair in life, let me bring hope. Where there’s darkness, only light. And where’s there’s sadness, ever joy,” they sung, to applause from the audience.
Clarence Fernandez, the Chairman Rwanda Renaissance, thanked the Government of Rwanda for the “warm hospitality that has seen inflow of Indian visitors to Rwanda on the rise”.
He recalled his first visit to Rwanda in 2008 when eight delegates from India arrived to attend the first East African Community Investment Conference at the Kigali Serena Hotel.
“The warmth, affection, and gracious hospitality we all received was truly remarkable. And that is where my engagement with Rwanda started.
Over the last decade I’ve brought in many groups and delegations for business, to explore investment opportunities, for leisure and religious tourism. But it’s without an iota of doubt that this delegation from the Happy Home and School for the Blind has brought me the most satisfaction.”
Edouard Bamporiki, the Chairman National Itorero Commission, commended the initiative, adding that it would further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.
“What is of great significance is the fact that these visually impaired children are here on a very special mission, to show their solidarity with the people of Rwanda during Kwibuka 24, and to collaborate with visually impaired children in Rwanda.
“Their commemorative choral performances are much appreciated and will help strengthen cultural ties between Rwanda and India,” he said.
After the performance and speeches, guests were hosted to a sumptuous dinner.