The photo that accompanies this article may not look much at the moment but this is the site in Sudan where the Emma Academy will be built. The building will provide education for the children of Leer and will be a lasting legacy in honor of Emma McCune the young aid worker who’s story is to be featured in a forthcoming film.
It is not clear how much money is needed to complete the project. Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal, currently on a musical tour of American universities, is confident that some of them will also come on board to help raise money. "When I start eating my breakfast and my dinner you will know that we have raised enough money," says Jal. In a recent internet posting, Emmanuel Jal mentioned that a figure of $12,140 has been raised so far.
Emmanuel Jal is passionate about this project and determined to see it through, through missing meals he has already lost a lot of weight and says the US tour is tiring. The Emma Academy is in honor of Emma McCune a young aid worker who discovered Jal amongst eleven survivors from a group of four hundred child soldiers. Children who had been forced to fight in the Sudanese civil war. Emma trekked across worn torn Sudan for three weeks, eventually smuggling Jal onto a cargo plane bound for Kenya and an escape form the war and violence.
As well as being a committed campaigner, Emmanuel Jal is a successful recording artist. He has recorded a number of hip hop albums in Kenya and his first international release came through the World Music Network / Riverboat label, Ceasefire, which also featured the music of Abdel Gadir Salim. In May 2008 Sonic released his album, War Child, aimed at strengthening his reputation within the hip hop community. Emma’s and Emmanuel Jal’s story is mentioned in one of the tracks on War Child and will also be the subject of a forthcoming film. She is described as his angel who came to rescue him.
Emmanuel Jal has also written a book War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story which is available to buy now.
You can follow and contribute to the project in a number of ways.
Buy Jal’s CDs and book:
- In North America: Ceasefire, War Child and War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story
- In Europe: Ceasefire, Warchild and War Child: A Boy Soldier’s Story
Author: Jill Turner
Jill Turner contributes to Songlines Magazine, World Music Central and is on the fRoots critics albums of the year panel. Her radio show GondwanaSound broadcasts on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM to the fourth largest city in the UK and is carried on both Radio Groovalizacion and African Internet Radio.