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Instruments for Africa


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IFA passed a milestone yesterday as we officially became registered as a Not-For-Profit organisation! A huge thanks to Heather Forbes for figuring out all the paperwork and getting the job done.

With our shipping date quickly approaching the project gets more and more exciting every minute!

Aloha,

Brad

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The next phase of our project is upon us! We fly to Lusaka tomorrow and hope to meet up with our shipment later this week. We will be spending the next five weeks in Zambia, dispersing 3,000 pounds of musical equipment among eight schools in four cities. Thanks to all of you for the support that has brought us this far!

Aloha,

Brad

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Had a very successful meeting today with Dr. Nkanza of the Ministry Of Education here in Lusaka. Things are moving forward well, we hope to get the shipment cleared through customs sometime next week. Until then we have several meetings scheduled with teachers, schools, and government officials.

Aloha,

Brad

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We had a very successful meeting with Mulenga Kapwepwe, the chair of the National Arts Council of Zambia. She is very excited to work with us and is a powerful ally in helping make IFA a success both now and going forward. We have also met with several teachers and headmasters and had the pleasure of sitting in with a music class today.

We have passed another hurdle towards getting our shipment in hand and suspect we will be able to start distributing instruments very soon.

Check the website soon for a more detailed update.

Aloha,

Brad

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We've hit our first speed bump here in Zambia. It turns out that our shipment is still awaiting customs clearance in Durban, South Africa despite our tracking information which told us otherwise.

Speed bumps don't stop us though, they just slow us down a bit! We are biding our time in Lower Zambezi where hippos and elephants are in plentiful supply. I'd love to be distributing instruments right now but truth be told things could be much worse!

Aloha,

Brad

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Finally, finally, finally. I got the call today that our shipment of instruments has arrived in Lusaka, exactly 34 days behind schedule! Ironically, as I hung up the phone I noticed the time was 3:35pm, the exact time and day of our scheduled departure for home. After five weeks here in Zambia I've been forced to extend my stay while Heather left as scheduled. Susan has been gone for two weeks now, so I am left to complete the project on my own.

So excited the gear is finally here!!!!

Aloha,

Brad

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Thanks for forwarding the updates Brad for the non-facebookers. Glad to hear that the shipment arrived. Sorry to hear Heather that you had to depart prior to getting to distribute the instruments. While it sounds like it was still a great trip on many fronts I am sure that was a little heartbreaking for you after all of your hard work. I can't wait to/hope to see some photos. Awesome stuff guys!!

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It's been a busy week! The instruments have been delivered to nine schools in four cities throughout Zambia, with many thanks to the Ministry of Education for supplying a truck and driver. ZNBC sent a video crew to film the dropoff at Zambezi Primary in Livingstone for their news program and the kids had prepared a drumming/dance presentation to thank IFA!

Next week I will be revisiting the schools to teach introductory classes and the students can finally start playing their new instruments.

Aloha,

Brad

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I'm excited to announce that IFA's first mission has come to a close! Instruments and instructional materials have been delivered to 10 schools throughout the country and I have spent time with each school familiarizing the teachers and students with their new equipment. The Zambian Post printed a story on our initiative today and Zambia's TV2 aired a feature on the project last night.

Several exciting meetings have been set up for the next few days to help smooth the way for future shipments.

A huge thanks goes out to the many people who supported the Instruments For Africa project, and a special thanks to Susan Carlton for all her efforts in joining us here in Zambia.

I'll save the greatest thanks for my fiancee Heather Forbes for her unending support and immense effort in this project. She has been on-board 100% since day one and her efforts, creativity, and hard work made the impossible come true.

Check the website soon for more detailed reports and pictures.

Aloha,

Brad

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I was honoured to meet His Excellency Dr. Kenneth Kaunda yesterday. Dr. Kaunda was Zambia's first President and he ruled the country for twenty-seven years. He is also a guitar player and a great lover of the arts. We spent almost an hour together, and when I told him about our project he cried. It was a moving experience that was capped with his blessing, "You are truly one of us now."

Aloha,

Brad

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Happy Birthday IFA!!!

Instruments For Africa began a year ago today when the Ottawa Citizen featured the initiative with an article in their Upbeat section. Amazing things have happened since then; people gave so generously that we were able to put hundreds of instruments into thousands of hands that really wanted them, and perhaps most importantly we learned much that will help make IFA more and more successful for the years to come.

Thank-you all for your kind interest over the last twelve months, and as we look forward to a coming year that is bound to be full of challenges and successes we hope you will continue to support our initiative and help us spread the power of music to so many young deserving musicians.

Aloha,

Brad

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Beaumont Music in the UK contacted Instruments For Africa some time ago with an offer to donate several brand new flutes. But Tim and Thea at Beaumont Music didn't stop there...they even went to the trouble of shipping the instruments directly to Linda Secondary School in Livingstone!

Beaumont Music has added an interview with Todd from IFA to their website, you can read it here:

http://www.beaumontmusic.co.uk/windspiration/instruments-for-all

Aloha,

Brad

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  • 2 weeks later...

Intruments for Africa hits right note

BY PATRICK SMITH, OTTAWA CITIZEN

DECEMBER 28, 2013

Ottawa’s Todd Snelgrove recently delivered more than 200 musical instruments to schools in Zambia and Namibia as part of his Instruments for Africa campaign. He said the students couldn’t wait to get the instruments out of their boxes so they could start making music.

Receiving a guitar with no strings attached sounds like the setup for a bad joke, but for schools in a country in Africa, it was a dream come true.

When Ottawa guitarist and music teacher Todd Snelgrove visited the Republic of Zambia in May 2012, he was shocked to find that Linda School, a public high school he visited in the city of Livingstone, didn’t have any musical instruments at all. This was despite a curriculum that saw about 300 students take a music class every week.

“I found that out by walking into one school, where I donated one single guitar,†Snelgrove said. “But in this last trip as I visited more and more schools, I found out that that’s absolutely the norm in that country.â€

Armed with this knowledge, Snelgrove returned to Ottawa with the idea to gather instruments and help these schoolchildren learn music with the right tools.

It took one of his guitar students, a former ambassador to an African country, to hold him accountable. After weeks of being asked for an update on the project by his student, Snelgrove sent an impassioned plea for people to donate their new and slightly used instruments and help the kids at Linda School get a proper musical education. He called this project Instruments for Africa.

The initiative, which started as a drive to collect enough instruments to create a full concert band for Linda School, quickly took on a life of its own.

“Things started flooding in and, in no time, we got way more instruments than we needed for this one school,†Snelgrove said.

More than 200 donated instruments were sent to 10 primary and secondary schools across five cities in Zambia, as well as one school in Namibia, a bordering country.

Despite a five-week delay in the shipment due to a holdup at the African border, ukuleles, keyboards, guitars, violins, recorders and more made their way into the hands of eager students.

“I’d just be trying to put the instruments on a table in the case, and I’d turn my back and they’d be open. The kids would have them, and they’d be putting all these things together.â€

Their eagerness even led to an impromptu musical interlude, Snelgrove said.

“There’s the drummer, and he’s playing the drums, and there’s five or six guys with all these horns, and they’re jamming,†he said. “And they haven’t had the instruments out of the cases for 20 minutes!â€

Surprisingly, he said, the most popular instrument seemed to be the recorder, and he hopes to gather many more for the next shipment.

“They love it,†he said. “And the thing is, you can’t break a recorder and to ship them, it is the smallest, easiest, lightest instrument to ship. I would love nothing more than to ship 10,000 recorders over there.â€

Snelgrove plans on returning to Zambia in the spring, to ensure that students are getting the best possible use out of the instruments. But, even once he returns, he’s not done giving students the gift of music just yet. He’s taking the coming year off work to dedicate himself full-time to his initiative.

“It’s not called Instruments for Zambia,†he said. “It’s called Instruments for Africa.â€

“The idea is to try to take (the program) where it’s needed within the continent,†he added, citing neighbouring countries Mozambique and Malawi as potential future destinations.

As for long-term goals, Snelgrove hopes to evolve Instruments for Africa into a charity. The initiative has already been designated as a not-for-profit, but the next step is proving to be challenging.

“I’m hoping to find some legal counsel that will donate their time to help,†he said.

“With the charity stuff the tax people are involved because you’re issuing tax receipts. It’s a lot more involved.â€

More information can be found at intrumentsforafrica.com .

© Copyright © The Ottawa Citizen

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