In October 2012 and October 2013, students and staff from Morpeth School's Music Department, with the support of Investec in London, visited Sparrow Schools. They were part of a school percussion ensemble, Pulse, made up of students from Year 10-13. This group is part of the Drum Works project run by Barbican and the Guildhall and is led by experienced and dedicated tutors.
The purpose of the recent visit was to build on the relationship with Sparrow, where a shared love of music and understanding of social and educational disadvantage has created a special bond. The young people worked hard and were proud to donate a set of their special drums to Sparrow. They joined forces with the Sparrow Choir and Field Band for several performances and workshops, including at Investec in Johannesburg. They also ran workshops at several smaller charitable projects which provide further care for children at Sparrow, such as Ikageng, a community based organisation for orphaned and vulnerable children in Soweto, and Nkosi's Haven which offers holistic care and support for destitute HIV/AIDS infected mothers, children, and resulting AIDS orphans.
After their visit in 2012, staff and students also felt strongly that they would like to commit to working with Sparrow on a long-term project to change the lives of young people in South Africa. The group aims to introduce the proven benefits of Drum Works' group drumming to communities and schools in South Africa and through it to create social change. This style of drumming gives an extraordinary sense of power to individuals through music making, develops self-confidence, motivation, concentration, time-keeping, leadership, teamwork and social and emotional development. Community leaders in South Africa will, it is hoped, be given the skills to teach the method and to make their own inexpensive versions of the drums. Sparrow Schools will have the opportunity to be the link between the UK and the Project Leaders and to offer their facilities and experience to youth workers from less established NGOs.