The UMKULO Project‘s mission is to alleviate the effects of poverty by providing the opportunity for African children to experience the hope that music education can bring.


Do we really believe music can alleviate poverty in Africa?

Well, it certainly has done some awesome stuff in each of our personal lives, and we believe the chances are pretty great that it’s done the same in yours. It’s no different in Africa. In fact, music is probably even more meaningful to the underprivileged who don’t have much hope in their day-to-day lives.

Poverty itself is multi-dimensional. The six key elements are economic, political, cultural, physical, natural and spiritual aspects. Life is hard in a third-world environment. Many believe poverty is just an economic problem, but we have discovered that poverty cannot be solved by just throwing money, food, water and shelter at the poor. While it is incredibly important to provide basic needs, it is our belief that music education has the unique and rare ability to hit all six, equally-important, dimensions of poverty.


How “The UMKULO Project” hits all 6 Dimensions of Poverty:

  • Economic:
    • We can create jobs for those already trained in music (ie teachers, helpers).
    • We’ll develop children so they can have a career in music or the arts.
    • Those educated in music are more likely to succeed in other areas and have a better chance of making it to higher education.
    • We’ll purchases resources (ie learning materials, instruments, etc) from local businesses to stimulate the economy in Africa.
  • Political:
    • Music can give the students a voice
    • Music can give the students confidence
    • By writing and creating songs, kids will use music to view their world and make sense of it.
    • Music can be used to inspire political change.
  • Cultural:
    • Studying music around the world will create a sense of appreciation for African music and its unique place.
    • Music is already such a huge part of African culture.
    • The kids can inspire others in the community by showing their talents and displaying their songs.
    • The successful students who graduate from local music academies may be interested in becoming teachers themselves and giving back to their community.
  • Physical (Mental):
    • We can take the drugs out of their hands and put instruments in their hands instead.
    • Music can help stimulate a growing person’s mind.
  • Natural (Environmental):
    • The poor communities are not only hard on people, but also hard on nature. The more people we can help find a way out of these areas, the less waste hurts the environment.
    • We can get children off the streets and into a learning environment.
    • Music can provide a reason to dream beyond their cardboard homes and crime-ridden neighborhoods.
    • If they are studying music, the kids aren’t getting into trouble
  • Spiritual:
    • Kids can join church bands & choirs.
    • Music provides a universal language that cuts across all space and time.
    • Music itself is spiritual providing hope, love, passion and connectedness.
    • Music can enhance one’s faith.


We don’t want to give the impression that music is more essential to survival than water, food, shelter, health or money. All of those are necessary in combating poverty.

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