Children Celebrate “The Freedom God Has Given Us” in Sierra Leone


The crowd of children is still riled up from the dance troupe’s performance as Amie approaches the stage. The audience settles in as the music begins. Amie has chosen the song “I Will Dance Before My God,” and in seconds this talented young woman from the Banta Children’s Village has twisted, shaken, and twirled the crowd onto their feet. 

Amie performs her dance number during the Day of the African Child
           Amie begins her dance number at COTN’s Banta Ministry Center during the Day of the African Child.
It is June 16th and children all over Sierra Leone are celebrating the Day of the African Child. The date commemorates student protests against apartheid in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976, and this year it was marked by a very special program in Banta organized by some of the young leaders people like you are helping to raise.
A few weeks before this date, Amidu, one of the oldest boys in the Children’s Village, had approached the center supervisor, Samuel Ngoneh, and asked for his help in hosting an event for the local children. It should have dancing and singing and music and fun, Amidu decided.
Yeani  smiles as she watches the day’s performances
                                                 Yeani  smiles as she watches the day’s performances.
“One of the ideas was to bring people together and celebrate the freedom which God has given us,” Amidu smiles. “And the other was to thank the Lord for our school by performing the school song.” Amidu and two other boys have recorded a school song, and this hip-hop celebration of the Mallory Jansen Memorial School has become very popular amongst the children.
Amidu asked Alex, another one of the oldest boys from the Children’s Village, to be the MC for the program. Many of the younger children look up to Alex, who just completed his first year at Bible college. “He is such an example to us,” Amidu says. “And it was the Day of the African Child, so I didn’t want an adult to do it.”
Alex enjoyed being the MC for the day’s festivities
               Alex enjoyed being the MC for the day’s festivities. “He is such an example to us,” Amidu says.
Alex clearly enjoyed the responsibility. “Hello!” he would shout to the crowd between his introductions. All the children would lean forward in their seats and scream, “Hi!” back at him. “There was a lot of fun,” Alex explains. “Being the chairman was great. It was my first time of doing that. It was a special day for me to get involved.”
All the performing acts were judged by a panel of staff members who picked out the best wise sayings, the best poem, the best singer, and the best dance act. This last category was the hardest decision of the day, and the prize had to be shared between Amie and a breakdancing group led by Emmanuel, also from the Children’s Village. 
The program closed with a showcase of Amidu’s own God-given talents: the performance of the school song backed up by a choreographed breakdancing routine. “I was very happy because it was the first program that I had ever organized in my whole life,” Amidu smiles. “[My favorite part] was our performance, because it was like I was dreaming and seeing myself on stage performing my first track!”
Amidu and his friends singing the school song they wrote
                               The day ended with Amidu and his friends singing the school song they wrote.
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