Abel Mogaka – Divine Music Talent Group
Benefiting children in the Kiberia slums of Nairobi
Abel brings guitar, singing, piano, and music lessons to his students (all free) in Nairobi, Kenya. Children are fed, and learn on donated instruments, with the goal of giving opportunities and structure to their lives.
Any contributions will go to his program, through Seccom’s affiliate, a not-for-profit that funds bringing guitars into Africa.
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My name is Abel Mogaka. I am Kenyan living in the town of Kabiria Nairobi. I have a family, two daughters age nine and fifteen years old. I am a member of a Church in Nairobi where I serve as an usher and musician.
I am so appreciative of Seccom Foundation for their help in supporting our cause here in Kenya.
My journey as a musician started twenty years back when God spoke to me concerning my gift in music. I pursued it by practicing playing music instruments while in my local church in the rural areas of Kisii. They comprised of the guitar and piano, drum sets and then later on in life I advanced to music vocals and playing the violin.
Evidently, music has been a passion and a gift which I fully enjoy doing and sharing with the people around me. That is why I decided to take it up further and start teaching children.
I started Divine Love Music in 2007 in Kabiria Satellite and The Kibera slums. It is a faith-based organisation which I created with the main intention of reaching children from needy backgrounds, therefore it is purely voluntary as the children cannot pay for the services. My aim was to show them love and give them hope through music.
The program involves me getting a number of children from needy areas within the locality and taking them through the lessons step-by-step until they gain the necessary skills required in music. The lessons usually take around two hours per day with a number of ten to fifteen children per sitting, from Monday to Saturday. Registration is done in January and the classes begin in February through the year until December when they get to receive their certificates of completion. After having done this for two years, I got to register the group with the government of Kenya and is now a legally recognised organisation.
As stated above, most of the children’s parents cannot fully support them economically which has led to many children getting themselves engaged in drugs and into the life of crime in order to survive. Also, their surrounding environments are un-conducive for the healthy growth of a child who is expected to succeed and be an accountable citizen later in life.
Divine Love Music came in with the aim of touching lives and transforming them. Due to their present economic situation, the ministry is purely voluntary and free to all the children who come to learn. This has therefore brought a lot of them to the program. There are about 130 active children under the program so far. These are from schools within the slum areas such as Jubilee school, local churches such as Orthodox Church and rehabilitation centres such as Kivuli Center in Kabiria.
My main aim for this ministry is to:
1. To eventually assist the children economically. This is through the music they’ve learnt, that this skills can later on enable them to earn an income and support themselves financially.
2. My ministry is also working hard to win souls and bring these children to the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their saviour. This being my great commission. I believe that this would greatly change their lives for the better, now and in the future. So far, the ministry boasts of around 20 children who have come to accept Christ.
3. Learning music has also been a good pass time for the children. They fully enjoy learning the new notes and performing them practically. This has also kept most of them busy and hence a great amount of time that would have been used to do unproductive things is utilised in a better and more enjoyable way. Therefore reducing negative consequences which would have been as a result of idling and keeping wrong company.
1. As mentioned above, since time is now more productively used, many of the children have abandoned old negative habits such as taking drugs. They are now focused on improving their lives for the better by working on gaining better habits.
2. Since they enjoy learning music skills, most of them find it also to be a pleasurable way of passing time. They get to learn new songs and interact with positively impacting friends.
As with any organisation and life in general, challenges are always present and this ministry has not been an exception. However, trusting and expecting in God has made it to come through this far and we are eternally grateful.
1. So far, the lack of adequate funds has been the main limitation facing the ministry. There are a lot of great plans and vision meant for the ministry that is yet to be fulfilled. The funds required are to be used for the following purposes:
– The ministry so far has not had a set and stable location. I have had to move from place to place to access and teach the children. This becomes a challenge with time due to the following factors:
– with the growing number of children, instruments need to be also transported to their present location. This is a risky move since not only can they get stolen, serious damage can occur while on transit as they are being carried by hand or left in the care of the school management.
– Specialised training for each individual child is also greatly reduced as the teacher can only be found at one facility at a time.
– Sometimes, the management of the different schools/organisations can be quite difficult to work with as per their protocols and regulations which nonetheless have to be adhered to. These may at times be limiting factors for impactful learning of the kids.
– I would also want to get the full information of all the children I work with, that is, their contacts from home, when they joined and all the necessary details in a database. Due to the lack of a stable place, this has been inefficiently carried out.
It would therefore be a most welcomed opportunity to acquire my own place for the music group.
A spacious enough place so as to accommodate rooms for not only the music training, but also for the safe storage of the instruments, a small kitchen for cooking meals for the children and even a safe place for any of the children who may for one reason or another need a temporary habitation. Also, a room for an office or two will be required for the efficient running of the program.
2. Since the program has been running on voluntary basis, it has been quite a challenge to purchase more instruments and the required supplies when/if they break down. The parts are usually costly and hence sometimes an instrument will have to stay unused after its broken down.
With enough funds, more instruments can be purchased and serve the growing number of children who are in need currently and in future.
3. A good public address (PA) system would also be a great development as it would be used with the instruments during the trainings, holding events and for hiring purposes.
4. I believe that it would be quite inconsiderate to have the children over for the lessons and to leave them to go hungry. Hence, it would be a dream come true if the ministry would be able to cater for a feeding program for them. This can be food or snacks. The funds will cover the buying of food/snacks, utensils and a cook.
5. An administrator would also be necessary to assist with the running of the place. He/she would assist the children where needed and ensure the smooth running of the facility.
6. Office facilities such as computers, wifi connection are also imperative to the effective running of day to day services.
Some of the ways that have been found viable enough to generate income within this ministry include:
– The hiring/renting out of a PA system.
– Holding events such as talent shows, gala events etc. where entrance fee can be collected.
– Opening of a school within the facility that deals with computer and design training, tailoring, for the young ladies who may not have had the opportunity to access a formal education.
Using these means and many more that will present themselves, the organisation will be able to support itself and be on its own feet.
The funds will be used to run the whole facility and expand beyond its borders. Some of the tasks it will cater for will include paying for the rent and regular maintenance, supporting the feeding program, fuelling the vehicle and sponsoring the needy cases.