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Benefit concert helps Ugandan orphans

COURTESY PHOTO - Members of the Imani Milele Childrens Choir of Uganda will perform a benefit concert Friday evening at Pacific University in Forest Grove.Bringing a message of hope and inspiration, the Imani Milele Children’s Choir will put on a benefit concert for the millions of orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa and worldwide when it comes to Pacific University in Forest Grove Friday evening.

Imani Milele is an African phrase that means to “always believe,” or “to have faith continually.”

The choir is from an organization called Imani Milele Children, a team dedicated to making longlasting differences in the lives of children around the globe by rescuing and educating orphaned children and teaching them the skills to be self sustaining, productive leaders.

According to the organization’s website, at least 8 percent of the Ugandan population, or around 2.5 million people, is made up of orphans — larger than the population of New Mexico, which is larger than the African country. Of the 2.5 million, 1.2 million are orphaned due to HIV or AIDS. The conditions in which the children are born in, raised in and abandoned in are incredibly harsh. Present-day Uganda is one of the poorest countries in

the world, and many children are left to fend for themselves after the passing of their parents without basic needs like clean

water, shelter, medical aid, clothes and education.

Imani Milele Children currently cares for more than 3,000 orphaned children and spreads awareness of the real stories and situations of these children through its touring choir. Imani Milele choirs have done international tours since 2013 as advocates for the millions of Ugandan orphans. It’s made up of children benefiting from the Imani Milele Children program, accompanied by a team of adults. Finely crafted African traditional dances, drum routines and a capellas have all taken center stage in their performances worldwide.

Those interested in supporting the cause of the choir or witnessing the talents of its performers can attend the benefit concert at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in Pacific University’s Taylor Meade Hall. Admission is free, but donations will be appreciated.