WORKING WITH NYUMBANI CHILDREN of GOD RELIEF INSTITUTE in KENYA
Hi. This is Don Rawzi, artist and humanitarian working with HIV+ children in Kenya who are orphans and also the mothers in the community, teaching them arts and crafts to empower them and alleviate the poverty that is quite rampant in the Kenyan ghettos. What inspired me to leave my paying and successful reggae music scene was an article that I received from a friend in Jamaica about James Cannings who was successfully using music as a means to heal people in hospices and in schools; this was new as I had seen the power of music when I performed, but I never thought it could be a medium that can heal and soothe in this time. David would play for Saul and with great effect cure Saul of his mental condition, so James Cannings was the modern-day David -- thus my interest in healing the poor and disadvantaged in my society arose. The article from "Cool Vibes Magazine" had James Cannings' number and address; but at that time I had no idea that I would ever come to the USA, and I had not started teaching children, so I filed it for future use. I have done a 16-song album with the children, with great effect I must say, winning an award for Best Video East Africa, and the children were nominated Best R&B group in Kenya 2004 during the KISIMA Awards. The group is called "Watoto wa Mungu," which means children of God. They have been able to build their self-esteem and fight the stigma and discrimination directed towards people living with AIDS. We have had shows with Kenya's best artists, which have made the children superstars in only three years. We have also sold 250 CDs in Kenya and 2,000 CDs here in the USA; they were bought by the Noel Foundation to give as Christmas gifts, letting lots of people know about the projects. Nyumbani is a registered charity home. Here in the USA we are known as Children of God Relief Fund, which does fundraising on behalf of the Children of God Relief Institute in Kenya. The institute relies heavily on funding from the USA. We are now working to update the two websites: www.nyumbani.org and www.lea.toto.org. Contact: email@example.com
I am a member of the board of directors of the Children of God Relief Fund, which is the US fundraising arm for Nyumbani, the orphanage and related projects in Kenya founded and still run by Fr. Angelo D'Agostino, S.J., M.D., someone I have known for over 25 years. Your secretary can Google me and my brother, former US Senator Dennis De Concini.
I met Don at Nyumbani on my visit to Kenya last December at the suggestion of Fr. D'Agostino. My wife, son and I were there for two weeks to serve as full time volunteers over the Christmas and New Years Holidays. He has been the Music Director there for over two years and is much loved and respected by Fr. D'Agostino, the staff, the volunteers and the children. He is staying with us here in Washington for about 6 weeks while he works on marketing and fundraising for the orphanage and Lea Toto, its related outreach program for HIV+ families in the Kibera and Kangemi slums. As far as I know, he is absolutely reliable and honest as well as very talented and energetic. If you are willing to help with this project, you can be sure Don will not let you down.
Dino J. De Concini
3125 Garfield Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 337-5174, 5175 (fax)
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