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Issue: Civil Society Development & Governance

Release Date: October 1, 2010

Video Testimony: K. Barber

Photos: A. Seegers

Photo of Ali Badra
Photos by Alexandra Seegers

Opportunity Knocking

With Africare, I’m taking my music to the next level!

Photo of Ali BadraThe “it” factor: you either have it or you don’t. And 26- year old Ali Badra of Niamey, Niger, has what it takes to become the next “musical heart throb” in Niger and beyond. Standing just over 6 feet tall, Ali is outgoing, charming and a natural talent on the guitar, picking up cords within moments of hearing them. And he sings too!

“I’ve loved music since I was very little,” says Ali. “My big sisters used to bring me cassettes with popular songs, and after listening to them I would immediately begin to sing. Little by little they gave me money and said it was really good. So in kindergarden I started doing karaoke on stage and in small concerts.”

By high school Ali had dropped his first single, which was soon followed by his first album, and then a second album with a new rap group he had formed called Cosa Nostra. But deep down he knew this still wasn’t enough. His music still needed a foundation… a foundation he built at El Hadji Taya music school through Africare’s Peace Through Development Project.

“I am taking music studies—theory and practical. I am also specializing in guitar,” Ali proudly tells us. “That’s a big deal because now with Africare I’m taking my music to the next level.”

The program works with young people to develop a craft or skill beyond their formal education, keeping them off the streets and away from the influence of political manipulation or extremist recruitment. After completing training, many of the youth receive micro credit grants to start their own business. More than 7,000 youths like Ali have benefited from the program since 2008, sending a strong message of empowerment through opportunity!
“My vision is now growing. I want to recruit other youths to be in the group so we can play live gigs. This will give them work but will also permit us to become more professional. And maybe with a little luck a big producer will come here, take our demo tape and sell us internationally. We don’t want to be limited to just Niger or Africa – we want our message to be taken across the world.”

Ali’s story is one of inspiration, when drive and passion meet opportunity. How many more “Ali’s” are there in the world just waiting for their chance to be something great?

Keep Ali’s story going. Pass It On for Africare!

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