Daraja Children’s Choir traveling from Africa to LaPlace

Published 12:19 am Saturday, March 2, 2019

LAPLACE — Named after the Swahili word for “bridge,” the traveling Daraja Children’s Choir has connected cultures and captured hearts around the world with each performance.

The choir will travel to St. John the Baptist Parish to share God’s Word through familiar Christian songs and traditional African music at 6 p.m. March 10 at First United Methodist Church of LaPlace, located at 301 Bamboo Road.

Free and open to the public, the concert shares the stories of 17 Ugandan children who applied for the choir to enhance their educational and leadership opportunities.

The Rev. Jason Harris, who pastors at First United Methodist and The Lutheran Church of the Galilean, said the performance supersedes denominations.

“Even though our church is hosting the event, there is no denominational affiliation tied to this concert,” Harris said.

“This night is about God, His churches and these incredibly inspiring children.”

While many of the children have endured “unimaginable” hardships, according to tour leader Clinton Hicks, they manage to sing and dance with an outpouring of joy.

Some of the children come from broken families, Hicks said, but all live with limited access to food, water and other resources first world countries may take for granted.

Ugandan children willingly walk a mile to school, not knowing any other way to live, and Hicks said it benefits all to learn from other cultures.

“Anytime we as people are exposed to a different culture and get to experience something about them, I think we’re better for it,” Hicks said. “It’s just a great opportunity for people to see the similarities they have and to leave more connected.”

Harris said he’s never seen more joy in children singing praises than when he first saw the Daraja Children’s Choir.

“Their love and passion for God and their desire to share His life-changing message of love and redemption is evident from the moment I met them,” Harris said.

The Daraja Children’s Choir is part of The 410 Bridge nonprofit founded to create opportunities for people of Kenya, Haiti, Guatemala and Uganda.

The group traveling to LaPlace is the 117th Daraja choir to travel the world since 2007. Children continue their education while on tour for six months and continue to receive sponsorship and mentoring upon returning home.

While the concert is free, Hicks said guests are welcome to sponsor the choir with monetary donations.

For more information, visit 410bridge.org or call 985-652-6560.