Singer-songwriter and charity founder Isa Bell sees music education as key to helping the next generation of children in her homeland, Benin.
The small West African state is one of the most stable democracies in the region but it is extremely poor with very high levels of child labour and corruption. The government investment in education is surprisingly high but the country faced a 25% increase in the school-age population over the last decade and cannot cope. Few schools have computers or even books and there are no state school music programmes.
Isa Bell’s charity project, Educ’Aid Africa, has already given some funding to one Benin school to help with feeding programmes but her ultimate aim is to use music teaching to enhance the life chances of young Beninese.
Celebrating traditions and cultural heritage
As the Educ-Aid Africa website states, ‘Music training from preschool through to post-secondary education is common in most nations because involvement with music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behaviour, but surprisingly it is missing in most countries of Africa.
‘Our objective is to support local families by offering music education and give children a chance to familiarise themselves at a young age with it.
‘Our purpose is also to preserve and develop the quality cultural environment that offers engaging experiences with the community, which will in turn encourage them to participate in making, presenting, preserving and celebrating their traditions and cultural heritage.’
Isa Bell says her team partners in Benin are already seeking out suitable schools and will source teachers, equipment and materials, starting with one school initially. But the focus for now is on finding funding.
Further information can be found here.