Music is the greatest gift. This is, however, a gift which requires nurture and encouragement. Sadly, access to music facilities and teaching is greatly restricted in Zambia.
Music education has repeatedly been under threat in the UK. Nevertheless, the Department for Education has recently announced an £18m boost in funding for music across England which will go to creating opportunities for young children both in and out school. This will do much to boost the many opportunities that are presented to young people in the UK to make music; through school and church choirs, youth orchestras and ensembles and through instrumental lessons.
The reality in Zambia provides a stark contrast. Zambia is a free and democratic country but one in which poverty and disease affect a significant part of the population. Malaria and HIV claim thousands of lives each week. Average life expectancy is under 40 years of age. Some estimates put the number of orphans at 1,000,000, many of whom have lost their parents to HIV-related illnesses. It is estimated that a similar number of children do not complete their schooling due to poor health (often as a result of having contracted HIV), poverty or owing to a need to look after siblings and parents.
A number of charities work tirelessly to improve sanitary conditions and provide medicine to the people of a vast country. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the provision of opportunities and facilities for music-making are extremely limited. The Muze Trust seeks to address this severe geographical bias.
Through working with our Zambian teachers, including those at the Ngoma Dolce Music Academy, Lusaka's first full-time music academy, and music leaders in Mukuni village, South Zambia we hope to support the music-making of present and future generations in Zambia. We want to provide facilities for teacher training; for a greater number of music lessons; for communities to come together, make music and perform and, importantly, record their music for future generations.
We run a number of projects aimed at making a lasting difference to the lives of Zambian children and adults.