Nsambya Community is located approximately 5 kilometres south of the central business district of Kampala. According to UNESCO and UNE, Uganda has the highest school dropout rate in East Africa. Nsambya is a community with a high number of school dropouts and the push factors for this include extreme poverty, lack of access to education and early marriages and pregnancies.

Brass for Africa’s Ugandan Headquarters are located in Nsambya. Many children from the community would gather outside the gates to listen to the teachers rehearse.

When we hosted the Local Chairman, he asked if we could offer the services to the children in the area since many of them were school dropouts and others never got a chance to step into school and have the opportunity to learn.

Due to the vast interest and as a response to the needs of the local community, Nsambya Community Band was established in 2018.

Firstly, Brass for Africa opened the gates so the children could watch the teachers practising. Following this, teachers were assigned to small groups with instruments to commence learning.

Currently, Nsambya Community Band has 83 young musicians (25 girls and 58 boys).

There is a mixed range of ages within the band, whereby 17% are below 10 years, 63% are 10 to 15 years, 12% are 16 to 20 years and 8% are above 20 years.

The Band has also produced Student Volunteers who have become teachers at Brass for Africa. One of these teachers is Teacher Brenda.

This year, Nsambya Community Band has performed two functions, a community clean up which took place in Nsambya, to empower the Community to address issues concerning sanitation. The other was a March on World Health Day to promote Disability Inclusion.

As a result of the delivery of Music and life-Skills education, there has been a positive social behavioural change among the young musicians. There has been a great show of confidence, leadership and hard work.
“Through this Band, I have learnt how to play music and my self-confidence has been raised.”

Daphine and her brother Andrew are in Nsambya Community Band Bronze B.

Their mother says that before they joined the Band, they were too shy, they could not speak with people while looking into their eyes. But through the band, her children learnt how to communicate with people in the community. She added that because of this, she always encourages them to go for practice because she believes that they will learn more.

“By the time I joined this Band, I did not know how to hold and blow my instrument. But through the help of my teachers, I now know how to do so. The has also taught me how to read music.” – Lenone – plays a Tenor Horn in the Band.

Lenone lives with his mother.

The mother says that the band has changed her son in a way that he has become a responsible boy so when it is time for practice, he is always ready.