By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The sound of pure joy filled the Annenberg Center, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, today as the African Children’s Choir took the stage.

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The choir was formed 30 years ago by a Canadian relief worker who found it hard to get people interested in the struggles of African children — many of whom are orphaned, or are survivors of war, famine, and disease.

So, to help raise money and awareness on their behalf, he brought the voices of the children themselves to the west.

Tour director Emily Gronow says it’s worked.

“People come up to us after the show and say how much they were blessed.  Something happens inside them that they want to continue to invest in the children,” she notes.

And it was an eye-opening experience for the Philadelphia children who attended this morning’s performance.

“They were in Africa and they didn’t have enough food or clean water,” said one local youngster after the show.

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Other Philadelphia children had similar reactions and observations:

— “Africa is a hard place for a lot of people.”

— “Some people don’t get enough food every day.”

— “I learned to share…”

— “…to share food and clothing and stuff.”

The choir now has about a thousand alumni, and has supported another 100,000 children with the funds they have raised.


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