Emmanuel Jal meets Islington youngsters ahead of Uganda trip

�A former child soldier turned musician met Islington youngsters preparing to visit war torn Uganda.

Emmanuel Jal was forced into fighting battles in Sudan as a boy but has now become a hip hop artist and peace campaigner.

He went to St Mary’s Youth Club in Upper Street on Thursday and spoke with teenagers who plan to record a documentary on ChildVoice – a charity which supports those caught up in the Uganda conflict.


Emmanuel, who now lives in Tufnell Park, said: “This is so exciting that young people will visit and share experiences in different parts of the world. It’s emotional learning which will inspire them.”

Youngsters from St Mary’s filmed a documentary in Jamaica in 2007 about slavery.

ChildVoice was so impressed that it asked the youth centre to record a similar film highlighting its work while part funding the travel costs.

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Six young people, aged 13 to 18, along with youth worker Nick Adams and a professional filmmaker Lois Acton will spend 10 days in Uganda from October 20.

Mr Adams said: “The trip will highlight the fact that young people can make a positive contribution.”

Highbury rapper Lil Simz, 17, who interviewed Emmanuel and is going to Uganda, said: “Emmanuel’s music is really inspirational. I am looking forward to hearing the young soldiers’ side of the story first-hand, rather than through the internet. It could be really intriguing.”

Grace Fleary, 18, a Highbury-based musician also heading for Uganda, said: “It will be great learning about their rehabilitation from hardship and seeing how strong their heart is to be able to go through such a situation.”

n To support St Mary’s Youth Club, which is still looking to raise funds for the Uganda trip, email stmarysyouthclub@hotmail.co.uk.

For more information on the charity visit www.childvoiceintl.org.