Saved by music foundation is a Community based non governmental organisation, located in Mbale, a city in the Eastern part of Uganda. The organisation was started in 2009 by Kyewalyanga Fredrick, a former street child, who himself was saved from the streets through music, and that’s where the name of the organisation is derived from. As a result of extreme poverty in the community, child abuse by some parents, drug abuse, child pregnancies and marriages, unaffordable education and housing and so much more, a lot of children become hopeless and often end up wasted on streets. On the streets, they start using drugs and even end up joining criminal gangs, hence putting their lives on the line, while becoming a danger to the community at the same time. It’s on this background that the founder of this organisation, decided to do something that would help to restore hope among children and youth like him in the community.
Saved by music foundation has helped to change young people's lives through music. Over the years, the organisation has financially supported, rehabilitated, successfully trained and equipped up to 338 people. They are trained mostly in music, such as playing instruments and dancing. The organisation has a brass band and a dance troupe, with professional instructors that help to train them.
However, as an organisation working in a challenging environment like ours, we have been faced with a number of challenges, some of which we have successfully navigated through. For example in the beginning, getting the required documents and authorization from the authorities, to start the organisation was a quite a hurdle, due to a lot of bureaucracy and sometimes corruption. We however went through this by patiently adhering to the laid out guidelines and the law.
We were also faced with the problem of trust. With a history of some organisations that turned out to be a scam, it wasn’t quite easy to bring stakeholders on board, to trust us as a genuine organisations that’s out to help the community. The authorities, the community and our potential partners were reluctant to support the organisation respectively due to such doubts. But we decided to stick to our goals and let action speak. As time went by, everyone came to realise how genuine we are, and decided to support us. Finally, the biggest challenge from the beginning, up to now is finances. From renting a temporary space, to getting a permanent home, paying school fees and other bills for our youths, and facilitating our stuff. It hasn’t been an easy task. But with the help (donations)from kind hearted and dedicated individuals, plus some revenue generated from local performances, we somehow manage to navigate through. However as the numbers of helpless youth joining the organisation grows, our budget is increasingly becoming strained, yet its heart breaking to turn some of them away. If we had enough funding we would be taking everyone in. Things like Food, school fees, healthcare, bedding, and supplies, are still our challenge.