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Youth Orchestra Project in Nairobi Slum

Photographer: Dai Kurokawa

 

Life is hard for many in Korogocho, Kenya. Many youths, having given up on finding proper jobs that provide a stable income, turn to crimes or prostitution. 'I'm not a dangerous man, but we have to do whatever we can to support our families, to survive', one man said, adding that he had been rehabilitated and now is trying to expand his business of a small training gym in a tin shack.

 

Started in 2008 as a joint project with the Art Of Music Foundation in one of the largest slums in Nairobi, Korogocho, the Kenyan youth orchestra Ghetto Classics is directed by Elizabeth Njoroge. It has some 40 members who practice with mostly donated instruments every week in Korogocho, where hundreds of thousands of people live in impoverished and hostile environments.

 

Having played for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Pope Francis during his visit to the country in late 2015, the project currently teaches classical music to some 600 students all over Nairobi. Njoroge says she hopes to teach the youths of the slum important life skills and to transform their lives using the art and disciplines that come with learning classical music.