Archbishop Holgate’s School was delighted to host children from the Abaana New Life Choir who have been touring Great Britain and Northern Ireland to help raise funds and share the work of Abaana, a Christian based charity which supports children in Africa.

Abaana’s work aims to break the chains of poverty, through education. Most of their projects are in Uganda, working in 13 locations supporting the children and parents in those communities. They have been able to build 13 schools, support churches and sponsor over 1,300 children as well as working with children on the streets and other projects. Abaana has raised over £1 million to help build schools, medical projects, water pumps and support many children in need.

For the last few months twenty children and their chaperones have been touring Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The purpose of this has been to raise funds for the ongoing work of Abaana; especially in terms of education and work with orphaned street children. The tour has also had the added benefit of raising awareness about their work too. Archbishop Holgate’s was the only concert and host venue in York, and the only school to host the choir throughout the entire tour.

While at the school the children enjoyed a busy and varied programme taking part in two technology lessons. This involved creating a couscous dish and making wooden pencil holders. In both cases they were ably assisted by the school’s Sixth Form Student Leaders. The children also performed three concerts for Years 7, 8 and 9.

At the end of their visit the children performed to an audience of several hundred pupils, parents and friends of the school. The evening started with two musical pieces by the school’s choirs. This was then followed by a concert filled with singing, energetic dancing and moving videos which spoke about the life-changing impact of Abaana’s work. A huge £1,497 was donated at the concert, and this will be boosted by an extra £260 in Gift Aid. The charity also sold several hundred pounds of merchandise and obtained 12 new child sponsors who have made an ongoing financial commitment to the work of Abaana.

Richard Nihill, School Chaplain said: “It has been a privilege to work closely with the New Life Choir and organise their programme. Welcoming them into our community has had an enriching effect on all the pupils and staff who have encountered them in a variety of ways. Abaana’s vision of Justice and Compassion for the children of Uganda sits very well with our own school values.”

A member of school staff who hosted children from the choir said: “It was a very moving experience that has had a lasting effect on both my family and myself. I was really taken by the strength of their faith in God, and their firm belief that He would provide for them, and the way that Abaana live out the Gospel in their daily work.”