I met Roger by mere chance during my time in Kampala. I’m grateful that our paths crossed, because it gave me the opportunity to hear this young man’s inspiring story. Now I want to share it with you.
Roger is 27 years old. He’s originally from the Congo, but he’s been living in Uganda for the past two and a half years. He fled here as a refugee in order to save his life.
Tragically, on May 1, 2015, Roger’s father was murdered for false accusations of conspiring with the Opposition party. Shortly after, his mother and brother suffered the same fate.
Roger was away at school during this time. Those in power didn’t want to leave a trace of Roger’s family alive, and so they came after him as well. Somebody called him from a number he didn’t recognize and said they had an instrument to sell to Roger. Though he wasn’t initially interested, the man on the other end persisted until Roger finally gave in.
When Roger arrived at the agreed upon meeting area, he pulled out his phone to call out the other guy. As soon as he dialed the number, he heard another phone ringing from a car just metres away. The man hadn’t seen Roger, but Roger had seen him. He was armed. He was waiting to kill Roger.
And with that, Roger dropped out of Law School and fled to Uganda. He was able to obtain refugee status and start his life over.
In just two and a half years, Roger has mastered the English language, and he has surrounded himself with many of Uganda’s most talented musicians–locals, expats, and fellow refugees. He plays in several different bands that play everything from reggae to blues.
Roger is also involved with a group called BIVA Production. BIVA searches for upcoming musical talent to develop and promote in Uganda. They give local and refugee musicians recording time in their studio and help them promote and sell their music. Their end goal is to promote peace, love, and the sharing of cultures.
BIVA recently held a concert to celebrate and promote many of their talented musicians.
Roger’s most important project, though, is called Pamoja Na Yatima Group (Together With Orphans). At the moment, he dedicates much of his time to teaching orphaned children in his community how to play music. Sometimes he invites them to play in his own house; other times he goes to teach in the local schools. His goal is to help these children heal from the wounds they have suffered in life through music, give them a community of fellow musicians and peers they can learn from and grow with, and teach them to play music well enough so that they may find gainful employment in the future.
Roger wants to house these orphans in a shelter that would also provide a home for widows and other disadvantaged groups. However his vision for the project has a much larger scope than just his local community. Roger wants to build such shelters all over the world. He wants to heal the world through music.
If you would like to learn more about the project, check out Roger’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Pamoja-na-Yatima-Group-PYG-Together-with-Orphans-Group-598811520326616/.
If you would like to contribute to the project, you may do so by visiting the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/together-with-orphans.