TWO Scottish musicians are to join a group of high school pupils on their latest mercy mission to Malawi to help disabled children.
Music teacher Amy Papiransky and women’s prison chaplain Patricia Roberts plan to take their violins and other instruments to the south-eastern African country to boost the quality of life for youngsters, many of whom are suffering from severe malnutrition.
They also hope to leave a lasting legacy in Malawi by teaching young women how to play the violin. Papiransky and Roberts will then leave the instruments behind when they return to Scotland, so the local women can play for the children.
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Around 20 pupils, former pupils and teachers at St Margaret’s High school in Airdrie, will be travelling to Malawi on June 22 as part of North Lanarkshire Council’s Aiming Higher project. The council is supplying some of the musical instruments for the trip.
Papiransky, 23, has been at St Margaret’s since August last year where she had her probationary year but she is planning to leave the school to further her music career by attending the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow.
She said: “I do a lot of gigging in the Scottish music scene and I am going to the Royal Conservatoire to do a Masters in Scottish Music.
“I haven’t met Patricia yet. I will be seeing her very soon to discuss the music programme that we will be taking over. We know what we are aiming to do. We have been given a range of percussion instruments.
“We will take them over there and we will try to use our music to help the under-7s with their motor skills and try different songs. I will take over Scottish songs and go into women’s prisons with the music as well.
“I will be taking my own violin and I am hoping to get a few fiddles from the council to take over. I would really like to teach young women around my age the violin, give them the basics, and to leave the violins over there."
She added: “This is the first time I have gone over to a different country to teach music. I have done a lot of workshops with disabled children and adults at different festivals but this is the first work I’ve done in a developing country.
“I am really looking forward to the challenge. I will be an amazing and I really want to help these disabled children. If I can leave instruments over there, like the violins and fiddles, that would be great. Then, in the next year, we can maybe take more over and keep it going.
"I would love to do it next year – it is exactly the kind of thing I want to get into."
English teacher Andy McKay, who is helping to co-ordinate next month’s visit, said they were also planning to run nutrition camps and sensory music workshops when they get to Malawi.
“This year we are doing an under-7 disabled malnutrition camp because 26 children have died in the last two years so we’ve really got to focus on them. We will educate their carers on how to feed them and then we will take it further and do sensory music workshops with them because we’ve got two fantastic musicians with us this year. It’s a huge deal.”