Show aids Ugandan classrooms

Like marathoners within metres of the finish line, members of a small aid organization in Victoria are close to achieving their goal.

The International Christian Medical Institute has raised $250,000 to build new classrooms in Uganda, but is $25,000 short of filling it with chairs, desks and other supplies.

To reach the target, the organization is hosting a classical music concert Feb. 25 with internationally acclaimed musicians Diana Lawton and Mark Lupin.

Lawton has studied and performed piano throughout Europe and continues to give master classes in Germany and Austria. And Canadian audiences may recognize her name from CBC Radio recitals.

Mark Lupin first made a name for himself as a seven-year-old violinist on the Dennis Wholey Show and won an award from the University of Cincinnati. Lupin studied under Jascha Heifetz and will perform a selection of his works in the fundraiser’s concert program.

Lawton and Lupin will also perform Mozart, Strauss, C. Debussy, Fritz Kreisler and Ernest Chausson.

All of the proceeds will go towards the building project in Uganda.

Despite their international reputations, both Lupin and Lawton agreed to perform at the fundraiser because of their respect of the organization.

For 13 years, the local organization has focused on a niche project – arming medical personnel in Uganda with management skills.

“There’s no place else in East Africa that’s doing this,” explained volunteer Adele Wickett.

“So you’ve got hospitals, nursing programs, big organizations being run by people who have the medical skills, but not any background in management and administration.”

The result, she added, was inefficiency.

When the project first started, Canadian volunteers taught a diploma course in administration for Ugandan doctors and nurses. Once the Uganda Christian University got involved, a degree program was added. The first class graduated 35 students in 2004.

Much of the teaching and financial management is now entirely handled by Ugandans.

“They are taking this to help them in the jobs they already have and also prepare them for more responsibility within their organizations. A lot of them have been promoted because they have these skills.”

The concert will take place Sunday, Feb 25 at 2:30 p.m. at the Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora St. Tickets are $25 and available at the Christian Book and Music Centre, Ivy’s Book Shop, Koinonia Christian Books, and Munro’s Books or by phoning 361-4470.

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