SoZo Children's Choir to perform at UABy Katie Goodwin | 02/15/2016 3:09pm
The Sozo children’s choir will perform at the University of Alabama on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. Photos courtesy of Katherine Belue
He and 16 other orphans from the SoZo home in Uganda are touring the United States in a children’s choir. They’ll be putting on a performance featuring singing, dancing and their testimonies.
“I was excited, not about coming to America to sing, but [to] be a part of the choir to sing to for Jesus,” Jingo said.
The event will include praise and worship songs, as well as the Disney favorite “Hakuna Matata.” Sarah Elrod, who was with the children through the entire rehearsal process and is now on tour with them, said the event will give viewers a taste of Ugandan culture.
“These kids have impacted my life more than I ever thought possible,” Elrod said. “It has been so humbling, watching them grow these past three years. These kids love Jesus with everything in them, and it’s so evident in the way they talk, pray, worship and behave.”
The goal of the tour is to raise money to build the “Sozo Villiage.” It’ll be on 28 acres of property and include as many homes, a church, a medical clinic and a school.
The SoZo children home started in March 2010 with 17 children. They now house over 100 children.
According to the organization, 2.7 million children are left orphaned or abandoned in Uganda. Over half of the country’s population is under the age of 15, making it the second youngest country in the world.
The name “SoZo” is a Greek word found in the New Testament meaning to save, both physically and in a spiritual aspect. One way they help these children’s lives is through education. The choir started as an extension of music classes.
SoZo provides their children with their basic needs, and teaches them about the Christian faith. Many college students travel to Uganda to do mission work. Lauren Collins, a junior majoring in human development, said she experienced these children’s unconditional love.
“The kids are amazing,” she said. “They truly taught me what it was like to have childlike faith. They are overwhelmingly joyful and they love the little things, like someone reading to them or playing basketball with them.”
Despite the hardships they have faced, the SoZo children still have a great attitude.
“They are so positive and recognize how the Lord has blessed them,” Collins said. “They truly give God the credit for everything, and they strive to glorify him. I learned a lot from the children and I know our God is going to use them in mighty ways.”
Coming to the United States was certainly an adjustment for them, however. Jingo recounted the story of a food he’d never seen before – lobster. He said he couldn’t believe anyone would eat that.
On their journey, the children are meeting many new people. Sharon, 14, said this was her favorite part of the trip.
“The culture is different, and the people are nice,” Sharon said. “Meeting new people is so great and becoming their friends is the best part.”
Natasha, 9, said she loves to hang out with her friends, play with dolls and eat. Sharon likes to play with the younger kids and find quiet places to read. The kids also dream of what they want to be when they grow up.
“They have big, beautiful dreams,” Collins said. “Some want to be teachers, others want to be doctors or architects and some even want to be pastors.”
The SoZo Choir will being coming to The University of Alabama on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Ferguson Center Theater. Tickets are $5.