Singer-songwriter Isa Bell (Isabelle Midamegbe) and UK NGO Educ’Aid Africa CIC have realised a dream with the opening of a new music school in Grand-Popo, a coastal town of Benin in West Africa.
The grand opening took place on 22 December with civic dignitaries, school leaders and the first intake of 50 children who will study at the school. Guests were shown a presentation about the non-profit project and were given a music theory lesson.
Instruments funded by donations received during livestream events organised by Isa Bell were presented, including piano, classical and electric guitar, bass, brass instruments and a wide range of local and international percussion.
Bell created Educ’Aid Africa CIC from her home in Portsmouth to raise funds for music education in Benin. Through concert income and dogged determination, she enlisted help from artists internationally as well as the UK and African music communities, to establish the school, which she hopes will be open to all children from Benin.
‘Our mission is to create opportunities for learning and cultural exchange, and to provide musical education to all young people,’ she says. ‘We aim to provide decent facilities to schools in need, to provide nutritious meals and additional educational support.
‘We believe that music education is a crucial element in reaching the full intellectual, social and creative potential of a child. Our goal is to help create a rich cultural environment that will benefit the community and encourage children to participate in, preserve and celebrate their cultural heritage.’
At the opening ceremony, Isa Bell expressed her gratitude to the many participants in the project, including Professor Jacob Dogbo from the Godsen Professional Institute of Music in Calavi and Télémaque Hounkanlin from the ARCHI-BTP Company.
Visit the Educ’Aid Africa CIC website for more information about the organisation’s work and to donate.