SMYLe, South Africa

SMYLe stands for Soweto Marimba Youth League. It is a musical outreach programme for under-privileged children living in the townships of Soweto, which Charity Cat has been supporting  since 2009, helping to fund the activities of the band and to purchase musical instruments. The SMYLe project aims to encourage the youth of the Dobsonville area of Soweto to avoid the daily hazards of drugs, crime and teenage pregnancy, by making music and working towards a common goal, while acting as an assertive reminder that ‘Education is the Only Solution.’ “Education First!” being its #1 core value, attendance and homework attitudes are checked when kids are part of the program.

In 2010, over 200 kids passed through the program. There are more than 100 children in the SMYLe band as of 2011, as well as a spin-off project at a primary school and an entire junior band (ages 6 to 12). The children play marimbas, brass instruments, drums, etc. They have also released two CDs with their music and fly to Canada every other year to perform and gain new support.