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Uganda's Watoto Children's Choir Sings Against All Odds

Their music is pretty well guaranteed to put a smile on your face but the kids who are making it haven’t had a lot to smile about. They're from strife-torn Uganda.

“Some of the children we have were abandoned on the streets," said Watoto Children’s Choir Team Leader Phillip Mugerwa.

“Others, they saw their parents murdered during war. Others saw their parents die of HIV and AIDS,” he said.

These are the children of the Watoto Children’s Choir, and they’ve been rescued from Uganda’s toughest streets and villages. They’re not placed in orphanages, but in individual homes.

“When we bring the mothers into the homes, the mothers they are real, they are Christian, they are loving. And they help rehabilitate the children" Mugerwa said. "They talk to the children, and they love on them, and this helps the child to realize they are important, and that there is much more than their past.”

And they are taught to sing. The ones who really take to it are sent out to perform worldwide as unofficial emissaries for Uganda and for the Watoto program itself. They’re coming to San Antonio for free concerts this Saturday at the Grace First Baptist Church and then next Thursday at the Summit Christian Center.

“The message that is passed on in this music is to encourage people, but it is also to encourage the children themselves,” Mugerwa said.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii