King George VI School for Children with Disabilities - Zimbabwe

Note - This Site Has Moved To:

www.kinggeorge6.org


 

To hear a sample of Liyana's music click the play button:

   Liyana (the song) is about the band and its music

 

To see the band's new Music Video, please visit their website: Liyana

In a society where the economy is in tatters, unemployment is rife, AIDS has made orphans of many and almost every family has lost a loved one, the chance for a child with disabilities to have a happy childhood is almost nil.  In Zimbabwe children with disabilities are often treated extremely badly, at best they lead a listless life with no opportunities; at worst they are abused and neglected.  In this society what chance does Primrose, an AIDS orphan with no hands, and Prudence with both legs amputated, have? 

 

King George VI School for children with disabilities offers children from all over Zimbabwe a haven from the harsh reality of a world that thinks they are worth nothing.  It is a place where children can be children again, and can learn to play and to have fun; a place where they are valued.  Many of these children have tragedies in their lives that you would think they could never overcome – Primrose discovered she was an orphan when no one came to collect her at the end of the semester.  Prudence is an extraordinary composer and singer whose family has never bothered to hear her sing.

 

At the school the children are taught to be independent.  This means not only taking care of their personal needs, but also clothes washing, cooking, shopping, gardening and cleaning their living quarters.  Everyone pitches in and does what they can.  The youngsters are grouped by houses with a house mother, and everyone’s skills are utilized to get the work done.  This extraordinary school, which is full of creativity, light and laughter, gives its students the chance to achieve things they, and we, would never think possible.   

 

The school has had many success stories: Sindele a deaf student who got a Business degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and now teaches business at the school; Pharis who has gone to England to study music; and the school’s secretary Precious who has Muscular Dystrophy and is in a wheelchair.  Precious has very little use of her hands and has to have someone else hold the telephone, but she can find badly needed supplies in a country where the shortages are very scarce.  These are just a few of the many extraordinary youngsters.

One of the amazing success stories the school has achieved is its band, Liyana.  This year the group of eight students, five in wheelchairs and one deaf, took second prize in an all Africa music competition. They were the only group in the competition who were disabled. The amazing thing about this band is its ability to get the audience to forget the wheelchairs, the muscular dystrophy and the deafness.  By the end of any performance the audience is on its feet dancing, lost in the music.  The students have just returned from a tour of Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands and are hoping to cut an album in England next year.