With a brilliant explosion of dancing bare feet, heart-pounding drumming and singing that calls one all the way back to Africa, the Children of Uganda Tour of Light descended upon the Washington region last week to overflow crowds everywhere. With the troupe ranging in ages 10 to 22, the mission of the Children of Uganda is to support and empower hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda to lead successful and productive lives.
Founded in 1995, the Children of Uganda is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States and a registered non-profit organization in Uganda. Executive Director Pamela Brannon said the tour is a vehicle to raise awareness based on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, civil conflict and extreme poverty. "There are more than 8 million orphaned and vulnerable children—more than any country in the world—these children are here to help their brothers and sisters, not by blood, but by the common thread of being orphaned and vulnerable," Brannon said. "Education is not free in Uganda and they are raising money to stay in school for themselves and their younger brothers and sisters. It's kids helping kids."
Most of the Children of Uganda performers have lost one of both parents to HIV/AIDS. Many have lost actual siblings. But as devastating as that can be, it does not stop the exuberant energy and sheer joy that comes from each "inspiring, strong and confident" performance. It was enough to convince Brannon to devote her life. "I saw them for 15 minutes, 12 years ago and something inside of me clicked on and said: 'this is what I want to do,'" Brannon said, "It's my calling. I have the best job in the world." The tour continues to New York, Ohio, Texas and Georgia. If you want more information about the Children of Uganda Tour of Light, visit The Washington Informer online at www.washingtoninformer.com