Karongi orphanage to release third CD

It’s not one of those bands, whose music is having massive airtime on local radio stations. But Happiness Choir, a group of orphans from L'Espérance Children's Aid Rwanda - Children’s Village in Kigarama, Karongi District, has an incredible talent.
The power of music: Happiness Choir smile after performing.
The power of music: Happiness Choir smile after performing.

It’s not one of those bands, whose music is having massive airtime on local radio stations. But Happiness Choir, a group of orphans from L'Espérance Children's Aid Rwanda - Children’s Village in Kigarama, Karongi District, has an incredible talent.

This is a dream come true, said the director of the orphanage, Victor Monroy, yesterday.  He dropped by The New Times’ offices in Kimihurura to spread the news, and his beaming face said it all.

In an interview, Monroy said Happiness Choir’s third CD slated for release in June, 2011, will comprise 14 singles, featuring some of the country’s famous musicians.

“We live in an orphanage which is four and half hours away from Kigali. There is no electricity, no televisions, Internet, not even running water. So music occupies the children most of the time,” Monroy said.

He added: “The kids like to sing and they have the talent to do it right. Our goal is to start producing a CD every year.”

“We invited the First Lady, Her Excellency Jeanette Kagame, to visit the orphanage and we’re optimistic she will honour our invitation,” he added.

The orphanage overlooks the shores of Lake Kivu, in the Western Province and is a home to 127 children of all ages.

Could you imagine that these orphans could find happiness and hope in music? That’s indeed true. Their wonderful voices and dynamic rhythmic songs have already captivated many hearts.

Their second CD ‘Joyful Voices’ has 12 track, with hits including ‘Touch My Heart’, ‘Ni Yesu’, ‘Umunsi mwiza’, ‘Ubukwe’ and ‘Ibyiringiro.’

“Of course very few people know about Happiness Choir. But they have already done two concerts. One in 2007 at Petit Stade, and two concerts, last year in June, at Ecole Belge,” Monroy said.

“I believe, in future, these kids will not only represent the Children’s Village orphanage but Rwanda…we have already received invitations for a tour in Germany,” he added.

The Guatemalan agricultural engineer, who came to Rwanda in November 2005, noted that his task is to develop the Children’s Village, especially the environmental projects, business and income generating activities.

Monroy said the incredible thing about these orphans is that all the songs and melodies are “theirs…they can produce a song in just an hour.”

“The orphanage is getting a lot of attraction, because we are aiming at becoming self-sufficient and economically independent in the next three years,” he explained.

“Incredibly enough, no orphanage in the entire world has ever done that, not even any NGO. That means we are the first ones and we’re trying to put this small orphanage into the spotlight, so that Rwandans can be proud that a place like this exists in their country,” Monroy added.

He noted that a lot of international media have visited and did several documentaries about the orphanage.

The L'Espérance Children's Village started functioning in 2004. The orphanage pays primary and secondary school fees for its children. However, when the children complete secondary school, they have to leave the orphanage to make space for new orphans.

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