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A theatre school based in Sutton Coldfield are paying for a child to attend school in Uganda, after finding out just how little money it costs for them to access schooling but how few can afford it.
Nick Furlong and Gemma Hextall are the Principals of Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield and reached out to the Nkuringo Schools Project, who work with the Singing Gorilla Music Schools Project. The organisation works with many children who are peasants or orphans who are trapped in the cycle of poverty, being unable to afford education.
“Another barrier is that the nearest school is too far away and the children would have to board, which again would make this even more financially impossible,” says Gemma. “Something we take for granted here, just to be able to go to school, is impossible for many children in Uganda.”
The successful part-time theatre school is paying for one child to go to school at the Nkuringo Community Vocational Secondary School. To additional support Ronald Byamukama, they will also be providing money for a bed for him to sleep in at the school to board, all his food and his school uniform. This will be paid each year to enable him to continue his education until graduation.
Ronald is 14 and has recently completed his Primary Seven exams with a 2nd grade from Suma primary school. He has three brothers and three sisters and he is the fifth born. His father was Aloyizius Byamukama but unfortunately died. His mother, Clemencia Tumuhirwe, is still alive and is a peasant who does small farming to provide for the children.
“One of the things we love about being Principals of Razzamataz is being part of young people’s lives and helping to shape their future,” says Nick. “The chance to provide Ronald with an education so he can perhaps change his destiny is a real privilege and one that we can share with our students.”
As part of the sponsorship, Razzamataz can send letters and photos to Ronald and will periodically receive pictures and e-mails back through the school to see his progress. “There is also the opportunity to go out to Uganda to visit the school with the project, which we hope to do at some point,” adds Nick.
Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield is part of a network of almost 50 schools and creates ‘triple threat performers’ meaning students leave being skilled in dance, drama and singing. During their time at Razzamataz, they will cover lots of different genres from classic West End musical theatre through to acting for camera, street dance and pop singing. There are lots of opportunities to perform both locally and on the West End stage and the school is proud to continually bring professionals into the school to work with students.
The fun classes are for all children whatever their background or ability and there is a strong focus on keeping fit and active, having fun and making friends. Classes start at age two and go on to 18 and there are lots of opportunities to perform giving children the opportunity to grow in confidence.
Franchisees in each school come from a range of backgrounds, including new parents who want a career to fit flexibly around their families, former teachers and young performers.
To find out if franchising is the right option, Razzamataz holds regular Discovery Den days across the UK where potential franchisees get a chance to meet the head office team, find out more about franchising in general and discover what it is like to run a part-time theatre school.