In 2014, the Safaricom CEO and Jazz enthusiast started the Safaricom international jazz festival not only to give room to jazz lovers to enjoy good music that moves the soul, but also to help young children from less privileged families with a passion for music get a chance to grow their talents, but also to keep them away from the streets and joining bad company.
The Ghetto Classics, which was started in 2008 is a community programme that is located in Korogocho. With over 650 children from the slum and other surrounding areas. Korogocho is one of Kenya’s biggest slums that is home to an estimated 300,000 people and has about 5 satellite areas around Nairobi. The programme also helps these young people by giving them income generating skills.
Based in St. John primary school and church, the programme was started to help create unity between students and school administration and the community by sing music as a tool for transformation. Bringing people from different races together to form a foundation with an aim of making music a part of the culture in Korogocho community is also something that ghetto classics has been working on. This also helps to engage young people in projects that promote a fair and just society system where they can all equally engage in socio-economic development programs.
For 3 hours every Sunday afternoon, the school runs a brass band and string ensemble. Since they work within the primary school, they give weekly music tuition to children between the ages of 1o and 12 in an adjacent school. Some of the students who have actively participated in the music program have managed to secure places for themselves in the Safaricom Youth Orchestra which also supports them with basic needs like food, school fees, shelter, and clothes.
The program has helped to discover children’s hidden talents in music and according to a report from the school, many students engaging in music have been able to greatly improve their mean grades in school. The project aims at equipping the students with both theoretical and practical.
Ghetto classics have been able to perform at key events in the country like The Pope’s visit and during Jamhuri Day at state house. This was a major win for them because it gave them the exposure they needed.
The school is funded by the proceeds collected from the Safaricom Jazz festival. Since the inception of the festival, Safaricom has been able to bring many of the most successful jazz artistes like Jonathan Butler and Richard Bona and many others from both Africa and other continents. If you have missed the Jazz festival before you are forgiven, but this year’s event will be one for the books.
Gracing the stage will be David Sanborn. A jazz maestro whose career has been playing jazz for thee and a half decades with 24 albums, 6 Grammy awards to his name and he has had one platinum album. He has dabbled different genres in music including pop, RnB and traditional jazz all which typically blend.
Children get inspired by what they see and the people they see so bringing your child along could help one discover hidden passion for music in their child. This event is also a fun activity for the family and for entertainment.