As I write this, nearly two dozen of our brightest and most accomplished students are rehearsing for our long anticipated 2012 Tour of Light. These children dedicate over a year of disciplined practice in East African music, drumming and dance.
Among them is veteran performer Constance Naggayi who entered our program after losing both of her parents to AIDS. At a very young age, Constance possessed a natural talent and was among the first children who traveled to the U.S. to promote Children of Uganda and raise awareness of the worldwide AIDS orphan crisis through cultural music and dance.
On that tour, Constance vividly recalls a performance at a school for the deaf. She was so inspired by the sign language interpreter and how remarkable it was to see their message translated through simple hand movements. In that moment, Constance felt a calling deep in her heart and pledged to find a way to help Uganda's more than 500,000 hearing impaired citizens. She was only 12 years old. Constance eventually went on to graduate from Ntinda School for the Deaf - crediting her success to the moving experience she had had as a tour performer.
Today, Constance has returned to help train the members of our newest dance troupe. Thanks to her experience in the U.S. and the opportunities those travels provided her - she is thrilled to be giving back. Her biggest hope for the children currently training is that they, too, will find their life's purpose as she did so many years ago.
The Tour of Light has always been and will continue to be an inspiration to our children, staff, and the fortunate audience members who witness first-hand the remarkable gifts of our music and dance troupe. Please join us in bringing these remarkable young performers, each with their own inspirational story of grace and endurance, to stages across the U.S.
written by COU's Executive Director, Pamela Brannon