Shangilia Mtoto wa Africa is a unique child rescue center and residence formed by the late Kenyan film actress, Anne Wanjugu, and is located in the heart of Nairobi’s Kangemi slum. Ms. Wanjugu, sharing what she knew best – a talent to perform – with destitute children living on the streets, found that through participation they gained confidence, a standard of excellence, focus, the ability to work in teams, and other socializing skills needed for productive lives.
The Shangilia residence was formed in 1994, initially with 16 children. It presently serves over 200 and incorporates the performing arts as central to its mission and daily curriculum. The young people perform music, street theater and acrobatics, and play brass instruments, often conveying social messages related to AIDS and other threatening issues. Shangilia now has the opportunity to relocate to a larger facility and to share the benefits of education, arts training and medical referral with an expanded number of street children as well as educators and professional musicians seeking deeper social involvement thoughout Nairobi, Kenya and East Africa.
As a first phase of a plan to enlarge the impact of Shangilia, an internationally touring choir with acrobats and dance has been developed with the support of African and US artists, and traveled to the Zanzibar Film Festival (2005), Greece (2006) and the US (2007). This CD was recorded in Brooklyn, NY, as the culmination of the tour of the East coast of the US in the fall of 2007.
This unique touring troupe serves as a voice for destitute African children, as a manifestation of the effect if Wanjugu’s vision for the performing arts as a vehicle for social development, and as testimony to the triumph of hope over despair.
An international support network for Shangilia’s objectives is in development, most recently with the establishment of the Shangilia Foundation USA based in New York City which joins support organizations already in place in Sweden and Great Britain.