In Angola, this music school lifts children out of poverty

In this new episode of Voices of Angola, our teams meet young Angolan students from a music school that has changed their lives. This place of learning has allowed hundreds of young people to get out of delinquency and precariousness, learning the art, within the Camunga symphony orchestra.

Over the past decade, the orchestra has unearthed diamonds in the rough from Angolan youth. This “place of comfort” is “like a home, like my family,” says Kelson, a young man who has benefited from these teachings.

The artistic group is named after its founder, Ntumba Malamba Camunga.

“Camunga means a small thing that is born, grows, then shines. The school identifies with this because it is a project that was born very small, that has grown, that now shines”, rejoices Ntumba Malamba Camunga.

Get children out of crime, fight malnutrition

Initially funded by small donations, the school started “with five children,” he recalls.

“So the school grew and grew and grew. Now we have 450 children. Many of those who started in 2011 are now teachers,” said Ntumba.

It must be said that the establishment plays an important social role, allowing “to get children off the street, from the world of crime, drugs and even prostitution,” says the school’s director.

“We make young people, children, adolescents understand how they should get ahead, and how they should face society.”

Another mission of the orchestra: the fight against malnutrition.

“If they don’t eat, they can’t learn in good conditions, because of course, on an empty stomach, you can’t stand up,” says Ntumba, who hopes that these students will eventually take over and teach the basics of music. to the younger ones.

“I always tell them, the hand that receives free must give free.”

Young Kelson had a path littered with pitfalls.

“I went out with people who behaved badly, I went out with violent friends,” he admits.

After attending a party with some students, Kelson visited the school and met the director, Ntumba, who did not hesitate to invite him to participate in a function.

“The band played. It touched my heart. I wanted to be like them,” says the young man, who started on the viola before his teacher realized he had a calling for wind instruments.

Delcio, 13 years old, travels 56 kilometers to reach this establishment. “I do it because I really like to play the violin” smiles the boy whose mother admires the sacrifices.

“He gets up early, at four in the morning, to go to school, because he loves it. The music is really in the soul of him,” she says.

The social role of learning.

If the journalist Raimuno Salvador noticed a change in “behavior” and a greater “responsibility” among the young people who frequented the art center, a permanent follow-up of the young people is still necessary.

Kelson is an example. The young man gave in to certain temptations, allowing himself to be “carried away by bad influences”, as he himself says.

“I ate things I shouldn’t have ate. It caused health problems in my lungs, ”she laments.

Kelson’s absences worried Ntumba, who then went to see the young man to encourage him to return to school.

“When he knocked on the door, he couldn’t believe it,” Kelson recalled. “He told me: ‘Look, you are like a son. A father does not abandon his son.”

“A few days later he appeared in the orchestra. When she appeared, I hugged him. I told him: ‘Welcome home,’” says Ntumba.

Ntumba’s goal is to teach art, but also to give these children a sense of responsibility to make things “change” and their country, Angola, “grow”.

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