Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

One of the biggest challenges facing any non-rofit volunteer NGO like ours is fundraising. An NGO like EwB does not have the resources to engage professional fundraisers – anyway this is not our focus, nor our mission. Our objective is to deliver as much help to Gugulethu kids, with as low an administration cost as possible.

One project we have been mulling over at EwB is to produce a coffee table photo book – both a digital and paper version. This photobook would contain poems, short essays, and amazing photographs taken by kids enrolled in our programs. Another idea I’ve been chewing on while I’ve been living here in Israel is to make this book more multimedia and interactive. How about including links to videos, music, and visual art?

A digital book makes this easy to do; however, even a paper one can have QR codes linking to EwB music -yes no more CD’s… (1)

Now imagine having a book like this in your hand! A tool to talk about an NGO you support, and a medium to give to your friends in exchange for their donations.


(1) What is a QR Code – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code


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Since I started working at the after school programs for EwB I have been attempting to make the English lessons a tad bit more creative, while at the same time to continue working on the tools we are trying to instill in our learners. With the help of Joy, one of our tutors, we decided that every Monday would be a perfect place and time for the more creative ways we wanted to teach. So on Monday we both decided that we would play the students two songs that had some overarching theme and discuss these songs at length. I decided to play The Streets-Everything is Borrowed first and then gauged there reaction. It was mixed at best, but that didn’t matter since the point was that they were more actively engaged in the lesson than they normally were. So then we listened to M. Ward- Chinese Translation. Give it a listen and see what its about.

After they had listened to the song I gave them simple instructions. If you met the wisest person on Earth, what are the three questions you would ask them? These are a small sample of what I got.
1) What happens to you when you die?
2) What made God to think about making everything?
3) Why did God create a male and a female
4) Why is it important to love?
5) Why is life so difficult sometimes?
6) Who will be the last man on Earth?
7) Are there people living on other planets other than on Earth?
8 ) Who came up with the idea that there must be school in the world?
9) Why are there black and white people?
10) Why are people not the same?

These questions highlight these students intelligence, curiosity, and their knowledge of “Life’s Questions”. It was a privilege to read these questions and to witness the engagement of the students with a song and the concept behind it.

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In late July, the group Freshlyground performed at the Vancouver Folk Festival. Education without Borders was there to meet them as well as to raise awareness amongst festival goers about the needs of school children in Cape Town and South Africa as a whole.

Freshlyground’s sounds are a lively mix of Indie rock, African folk, and jazz. Band members hail from South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Education without Borders volunteers were able to meet and greet the band members and also take pictures. The presence of Freshlygound also helped bring crowds to the EwB booth and in the words of one EwB volunteer, “ in one swoop, you made EwB ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ and we made a lot of new friends.”

Thanks to all of our volunteers and Freshlyground for helping brighten up a rather wet Vancouver weekend! Check out some photos!

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As a musician, lover of music, and confessed cinephile, I cannot resist a film that brings these together. One film that has caught my eye is a South African documentary currently making waves in South Africa and abroad, and it involves music, as well as students and staff from Fezeka School.

The film Fezeka’s Voice, a documentary that follows choimaster Phumi Tsewu and his students from their lives in the community of Gugulethu, to their success singing abroad in the United Kingdom, is not just an uplifting story, it is also a musical work in its own right.

Phumi Tsewu has been a teacher at Fezeka School for 15 years. As a teacher and choir master, Tsewu not only teaches his students how to make music, he also teaches them how to be good citizens. As Archbishop Tutu says, “Fezeka’s Voice is an important South African film. Its value is immeasurable…Fezeka’s Voice needs to be shared with as wide an audience as possible. The power of mentorship as demonstrated in this film is extraordinary…”

With Vancouver’s South African Film Festival coming in 2012, let’s keep our fingers crossed that this wonderful film will make it to the shores of the Pacific.

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Education without Borders will be assisting the Durban Music School in Durban South Africa with the donation of approximately 30 musical instruments.

The Durban Music School and Paw-Paw Foundation work in delivering access to music for orphans affected by HIV in the Kwazulu Natal region. The idea behind this project is that by giving access to music, it will empower a generation of young people with a passion for music.

The Youth Wind Band of KwaZulu Natal, part of the Durban Music School, has performed in a variety of concert venues, including the “Ubuntu Concert for Peace”.

Click on these links to learn more about the Ubuntu Peace Concert and PawPaw Funding.

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