Friday, August 31, 2012

2012 Project Update - Remarkable Progress!

Wow, we have had our socks knocked off with the latest photos that Peguy has sent us from Bazou. There has been incredible progress made this year, and the 2012 project is almost finished! And we have more good news - the school and the parent council have worked together to come up with an initiative that will help the school generate more income without raising school fees. More on that below, first here are the photos.

These first photos show the portions of the school before this summer's rehabilitation work.

There has been a lot of work done already this summer, and everything should be ready in time for the new school year. Here are some photos of the work being done. The first photos show the building rehabilitation.

Those of you who have been following the projects know that last year we constructed new latrines for the school. We also connected a water supply (which you can see in the 8th photo above, counting up), and this year they are constructing the handwashing station!

One last finishing touch to the latrines - a grab bar is being installed to make the latrine accessible.

As mentioned above, the school and parent council have come up with a way that we can help them become more financially secure. They have asked us to help them buy a tent, generator, sound system, and chairs so that they can rent this equipment to folks in the community for different funerals and celebrations. We know from first hand experience when we were in Bazou in 2009 for Njacko's parents' funeral that it can be quite challenging to find all of these things when you are planning your event. It can take a lot of work and time to pull all of this equipment together. Almost every weekend in Bazou there will be a different funeral or celebration, and we are really impressed with the school's idea. For our fundraiser this year (May 11, 2013), some of the funds we raise will be going towards this initiative as well as further improvements to the school. Our goal is to have all of the equipment purchased by the end of the five years and to work with the school to help them develop their business plan.

 All of this work and progress wouldn't be possible without all of your support, the support of various schools here in Ontario who have been doing their own fundraising, the support of all of the artists who have been generously giving their time and talents at our fundraisers, and the Gladstone Hotel. On behalf of the students and school in Bazou, we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.

Njacko and Val

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We have passed the $5000 mark!

Greetings everyone,

We just arrived home from the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival and wanted to share some great news with you.

Last week Njacko went to Upper Canada College to meet with the two boys who lead the fundraising effort at UCC for St. Albert le Grand (Henry Gage and Neel Ismail). Based on their efforts, the students came together and raised $421! Thank you UCC!

Our total for the fundraising this year has now reached just over $5,500. We are really looking forward to getting this year's project ready. In the next couple of weeks we will be talking with the school to firm up the plans for this summer's project. We'll be in touch to let you know when work will be starting.

Njacko and Val

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 12th fundraiser a success!!

Hello everyone! We are still floating on air since the two fundraising events held on May 12th at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto! We raised $4500 at the fundraiser, including a donation of $200 from Glenn Street PS from a bake sale that they held for the project! We would like to thank everyone for their generous support - and thank those of you who are still sending in donations.

We would also like to thank Upper Canada College who has contacted us to let us that they have raised an additional $420 from their casual day held last week! Thank you UCC!

If you would like to contribute, we have a couple of options for you:

- you may mail a cheque made payable to Valery Woloshyn to PO Box 632, 31 Adelaide St. E, Toronto, ON  M5C 2J8
- you may send us an email transfer to Please use the question: Where is the school? And the answer: Bazou

We had a wonderful audience for the afternoon family show. The children (and parents!) were singing, dancing, and playing along for all three performances! Here are a few photos:

Soli & Rob -
Charlie Kert -
You can catch Charlie and the ROCKgarden Party at Fringe!
Njacko Backo presenting African Voyages
Later the same day, we welcomed a full house for the evening concert. There were people who came from near and far...some all the way from Kingston, Maynooth, Brampton, Chatham, Prince Edward County, Montreal, Georgina, Bolton, Mississauga, Oshawa...

The energy for the whole concert was incredible. The audience was dancing right off the bat thanks to the grooves put down by Kome Manu (and Fojeba). When Sahara Sloan took the stage with Justin, she had us all captivated with her angelic voice. Finally, when Afroteque took the stage, the energy shot through the roof and the dancers took to the floor. We will have video footage of the performance in the next few weeks to share, however in the mean time, we hope that you enjoy these few photos:

Val and Njacko welcoming the room full of beautiful supporters
The beautiful supporters!  
Kome Manu - his new CD is available online at CD Baby
Sahara Sloan with Justin
Afroteque with Jane Bunnett
Ngasseu Kamga Sylvie - a HUGE supporter of the project
(she sold $880 of advance tickets for the fundraiser!)
June 15 @ 7pm Celina Carroll will be performing for a music meditation with Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) Master Debbie Danbrook at The Inner Garden at 401 Richmond St. W. Celina will be playing Berimbau and Kalimba. Website
The one and only Jane Bunnett!
We will be in touch with the school in the next couple of weeks to finalize plans for this summer's work. We will be constructing and handwashing station and rehabilitating another portion of the school which is shown in the photos below.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wow! We just heard amazing news from Peguy in Cameroon. The work that we have done here in Canada to raise money to support the improvements at Ecole St. Albert le Grand has inspired others to start contributing to the school! The school now has electricity and two computers! It is beautiful news for us to hear that the generosity that started here in our communities is spreading. And all of it is for the benefit of the children in Bazou. Thank you to everyone for their support, we're really looking forward to coming together with all of you on May 12th at the Gladstone Hotel!

3-5 PM Afternoon Family Fun!
* City Parent Magazine’s 2008 “Toronto’s #1 Children’s Entertainers” SOLI & ROB with ALISTAIR ANT (
* Ontario Arts Council sponsored educator CHARLIE KERT who will perform interactive songs from his LITTLE FINGERS MUSIC catalog (* African tales with NJACKO BACKO (English and French)
Tickets are $10/child (adult included)

8:30PM An Evening for Bazou
* Multiple Juno Award winner JANE BUNNETT

* Toronto’s newest Afro fusion band AFROTEQUE - Music from the Sun (featuring Njacko Backo, Altaf Bwana Moto Vellani, Celina Carroll, Maryem Hassam, Rick Lazar, Paul Neufeld, Paco Luviano)
* Up-and-coming opera star SAHARA SLOAN with COLIN DOROSCHUK of Men Without Hats fame, 
* Cameroonian KOME MANU who just released a new album
Tickets are $20 (or pay what you can at the door)

Tickets can be purchased in advance at African Drums & Art Crafts, 618 Dundas St. W
Questions and interview requests can be directed to, 416.836.8951
With thanks to the Gladstone Hotel for their ongoing support!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Welcome aboard students of UCC!

We have just learned that the students of Upper Canada College have decided to donate the funds raised at the Casual Dress Day on May 18th to our project. Thank you so much UCC!!

It is absolutely incredible to have the young people of Toronto working to support the young people in Bazou. Last year the money raised by schools in Ontario was a significant portion of what was invested at St. Albert Le Grand.

Schools that have helped in the past include Albert College, Annunciation Catholic School, Michael Powers Secondary School, Glen St. Public School.

If you or your school would like to get involved to help this year, please get in touch!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Announcing our lineup for May 12th!

Greetings everyone,

We just sent out our first press release this morning, and are really excited to share our line up for our annual fundraiser with you! As was done last year, we are going to have two events on May 12th - there will be an afternoon event with children's entertainment, and an evening concert for all ages. Please check out our poster for our exciting lineup, and stay tuned for more info coming your way in the next month!

Val and Njacko