When Ray Barnett first went to Africa in 1977, he saw poverty, starvation, injustice, disease, and violence. He could have decided that the world needed to see that too and do something about it. But Ray intuitively knew that people get uncomfortable and tired of seeing depressing images. He knew that the way to really get inspired was to see the beauty and potential that exists in that darkness and despair.
Ray decided to be innovative in his approach. He knew the key to engaging people was to have them meet the children face to face and hear their voices; hear their message of hope. In 1984, he founded the African Children’s Choir, and serves as the director and visionary for the non-profit organisation working to develop the Choir into an internationally acclaimed performing group while raising funds to help thousands of destitute children receive an education and hope.
Under his leadership, the Choir has gained international recognition, performing at Live8, at the House of Commons and the Pentagon, and appearing at some of the world’s most prestigious halls, including The London Palladium, The International Club of Berlin and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
Through his work with the Choir, Ray Barnett has been able to raise millions of pounds to establish numerous schools throughout Africa that serve children who would otherwise have no chance at an education. He has also been able to raise significant money for emergency relief and development programmes in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda, and more recently to help orphaned children in South Africa who are battling hunger and disease.
Ray who resides in White Rock, British Columbia, has been the subject of two television documentaries and has received numerous awards and honours for his work. These include the prestigious Cross of Nails, awarded by the Coventry Cathedral in England to recognise his widespread efforts to promote peace throughout the world, and the Heart of Gold Award bestowed by Esther Ranson at the BBC.
Want to find out more about Ray and his inspirational story? Follow his blog on his personal website at raybarnett.tv.