The Transformation Journey. Learn Now to Build Strong Leadership Foundation Of Youth Through Play, Storytelling And MDD

Youth Focus on Transforming Communities (YFTC), a non-governmental organization in Bidibidi Refugee settlement, Uganda, recently organized a dynamic event titled “It’s Time for Coexistence and Social Cohesion.” Held on February 12, 2022, the show featured young talents in music, dance, drama, storytelling, and comedy. The Chairman of the Refugee Welfare Council 3 for Zone 4, Mr. Moses Towongo, praised the initiative as a golden opportunity for youth, emphasizing its positive impact on talent development over the last five years. The program, supported by Brass for Africa Uganda and Music Connects, aimed to uplift youth morale through creative expression and community engagement.

During the event, Mr. Dedi Isaac, CEO of YFTC Uganda, urged youth to embrace voluntarism and contribute to peaceful coexistence. He highlighted the potential of youth in effecting positive change and pledged support to empower them, recognizing their role in community development. The day’s activities included performances focusing on themes such as peaceful coexistence, love, education, hard work, and the fight against early marriages. These initiatives not only entertained but also conveyed important messages on forgiveness, reconciliation, and addressing challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the civic education initiative by Brass for Africa, Mr. Ronald Kabuye, the Project Manager, emphasized the crucial role of youth in maintaining peace during upcoming leadership elections in Zone four. He encouraged them to utilize musical instruments provided by Brass for Africa to showcase their talents, fostering an environment where young individuals can contribute positively to their communities. YFTC and Brass for Africa remain committed to empowering youth in the entertainment field through training and recording opportunities, aiming for a more vibrant and engaged community.


Harmony in Diversity: YFTC's Musical Extravaganza for Peaceful Coexistence

Youth Focus on Transforming Communities (YFTC), a community-based organization in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, orchestrated a vibrant musical event on January 24, 2022, with the theme “It Is Time for Peaceful Coexistence and Social Cohesion.” Held at the Mercy Corps Innovation Centre in village five Zone of Four Annex, the event showcased the talents of youth in music, dance, and drama from both the refugee and host communities. Mr. Dedi Isaac, the Executive Director of YFTC, emphasized that the purpose was to reinforce peaceful coexistence and build strong relationships among the youth, fostering collaboration for the development of local music and the nurturing of individual talents. Key messages from the performers centered on peace, love, unity, and the importance of preserving good social values. Spectators included representatives from NGOs and UN agencies, such as the Office of the Prime Minister, UNHCR, Welt Hunger, the International Rescue Committee, and local structures.

The event, hosted at the Mercy Corps Innovation Centre established by the British NGO Mercy Corps, aimed to equip youth from both refugee and host communities with skills, including computer knowledge and entrepreneurship. The enthusiastic participation of traditional dancers and comedians added to the vibrant atmosphere. Speeches, including one from a representative of Refugee Welfare Council One (RWC1), highlighted the need for support from concerned NGOs for upcoming artists who often lack the necessary materials to enhance their musical talents and careers. The RWC1, an elected governing council responsible for maintaining law and order in the settlement, also monitors the implementation of development projects. The event received support from Brass for Africa in collaboration with its partners LAB Uganda and the Germany-based NGO Music Connects.**


Harmonizing Hope: Tonny Isaac's Musical Journey to Empowerment

Tonny Isaac, also known as Javil, is a 27-year-old self-taught singer and passionate musician who fled the conflict in South Sudan in 2016. Currently residing in the Bidibidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, Tonny faced financial constraints that hindered his music career upon arrival. Undeterred, he immersed himself in volunteer work with NGOs in the settlement, saving enough to record his song “Don’t Spoil Africa.” Despite concerns from family members about his deep involvement in music, Tonny views it as a tool for education and self-expression.

The turning point for Tonny came when he encountered Youth Focus on Transforming Communities (YFTC) Uganda, a refugee-founded organization with a focus on ICT, peace-building, and advocacy. Linked to ICT training at the Mercy Corps Innovation Center in Zone 4, Tonny learned computer basics and film editing. In January 2022, YFTC Uganda became the monitoring and evaluation partner for Brass for Africa, implementing LAB Uganda and the Community Music Project. Tonny then joined the Brass for Africa music skills training, focusing on audio production, providing him with the means to enhance his musical talent. During three organized Music, Dance, and Drama (MDD) events, Tonny actively participated and contributed to videography.

For Tonny, music transcends entertainment; it is a powerful therapy and a means of communication that unites people. He sees it as a mechanism for fostering peaceful coexistence and influencing communities to adopt positive lifestyles. Tonny emphasizes the importance of involving youth in peace-building efforts, urging international NGOs, donors, and development partners to prioritize youth empowerment for lasting peace and development in the region. His journey underscores the transformative impact of providing opportunities and skills to individuals like Tonny who are eager to contribute positively to their communities.

"Harmony Unleashed: Shukuru Obema's Journey with the Tenor"

In the heart of the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in Uganda, music transcends age barriers and brings solace not only to adults but also to children, even those yet to be born. Shukuru Obema, an 11-year-old from Yumbe Community Outreach, is breaking norms by mastering the Tenor instrument through training sessions provided by Brass for Africa, an NGO operating in the settlement. Undeterred by his young age, Shukuru stands shoulder to shoulder with adults, consistently pursuing his dream of becoming a skilled Tenor player. Despite being the only Tenor player in the training, his resilience and passion shine through, as he walks to Brass for Africa’s premises from his Premier residential area in Yumbe for each lesson.

In an interview with our reporter, Shukuru expressed the sheer pleasure and stress-relief he finds in playing the Tenor. For him, music is a source of joy and happiness that transcends life’s worries. His dedication has earned him admiration from his instructors, and Shukuru, always seen cradling the Tenor to his chest, confidently pledges to excel in playing the instrument, aspiring to carve a brighter future in the music industry. His instructors note his proficiency in playing the C Short Major, and Shukuru eagerly anticipates the day when he can share his joy through concerts, standing alongside his colleagues who are honing skills in various instruments during their training lessons.**

Shukuru Obema’s journey with the Tenor symbolizes the harmonious power of music to uplift spirits and create dreams, regardless of age or circumstance. His determination and love for the instrument showcase the transformative impact of music education, promising a future where his melodies will resonate with audiences far beyond the refugee settlement.