Ugandan childrens choir robbed in Vancouver – CityNews Vancouver

Ugandan children\s choir robbed in Vancouver - CityNews Vancouver
Thousands stolen from Ugandan kids choir in Vancouver
A visiting children's choir from Uganda is devastated after it was robbed in downtown Vancouver Saturday while on tour.

The Sawuti African Children's Choir is touring Canada and raising money to send underprivileged Ugandan children to school, including its own eight performers between the ages of eight and 15.

“We don’t come from Canada, I wouldn’t know which neighbourhood is safe or not, so we just leave our stuff in the car. We didn’t know that something like this could happen,” said choir member Joy Wamala.

Thousands of dollars in donations and gear stolen from Ugandan charity choir in Vancouver

The choir is travelling by vehicle and police confirm that vehicle was broken into Saturday just before 1:00 p.m. PT near West Pender Street and Abbott Street.

Among the stolen items were two laptops containing choir music, a gold-coloured iPad and a black briefcase containing roughly $7,500 dollars in donations from a concert Friday evening.

Two laptops, an iPad and approximately $8,000 in cash are gone after someone smashed a window, grabbed two bags inside the vehicle, and took off.

“That was a real kick in the teeth to have that stolen,” said Spark. “The offering from that previous night would have supported 14 children for one year.”

Doug Sadler, president of Seven Wells Ministries Canada which sponsors the choir tour, says it is a heartbreaking loss. He said not only did the money go missing, but the computers stolen had music files on them the children use to perform.

The Sawuti Children’s Choir performed at the Woodward’s Atrium on Saturday and left their vehicle parked in a lot at West Pender and Abbott Streets.

According to Sadler, the choir and chaperones were within eyesight of the vehicle when the robbery happened.

Due to the sensitive and/or legal subject matter of some of the content on globalnews.ca, we reserve the ability to disable comments from time to time.

Sadler said the husband of a local volunteer walked around the neighbourhood looking for a suspect after the incident.

“I was absolutely horrified. I couldn’t believe what was in front of my eyes,” said group chaperone Chris Spark.

The choir has two more performances in Metro Vancouver, before travelling to Kamloops and Edmonton next week. 

“People are so loving and kind, they have shown us much love. We feel at home,” said member Emmanuella Treble.

According to Sadler, the choir tours are a way to recruit new sponsors for children in need in Africa.

After a quick lunch at Costco, the group returned to find thieves had smashed in a window of their yellow Ford F-150.

Sponsorship donations pay school fees for children in Uganda and Rwanda. They are also used to pay for the construction of community schools and vocational training for women.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

The choir is on a six-month tour of Canada, where they are raising money for school books, uniforms and fees.

A Ugandan childrens choir raising money for poor kids to go to school in Africa is heartbroken after thousands of dollars and their possessions were stolen in Vancouver.

The Sawuti Childrens Choir, which is touring Canada for six months, was performing in a shopping mall on Saturday when their truck was broken into.

The Sawuti Children's Choir is on a six-month tour of Canada raising money for school children.

More than $8,000 was taken. Thats enough to feed and send 14 kids to school in Uganda for one year.

Vancouver police say the theft wasnt caught on camera so theyre looking for witnesses to come forward.

Ever since we came to Canada, those people have shown us love, said choir member Emmanuella Treble Nalinya.

The choir is asking those who would like to help replace what theyve lost to make a donation to the "Sawuti Choir" campaign through their Canadian sponsors donation page.