Taking the stage to ‘Save Africa,’ 1 school at a time

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Taking the stage to ‘Save Africa,’ 1 school at a time

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Singer Lee Seung-chul holds a sports competition for the children at the Sun Duk Orphanage on Children’s Day earlier in Eunpyeong District, northern Seoul.By Jin&Won Music Works

Lee Seung-chul, the singer known as the “prince of live concerts” and the most critical judge on audition reality show “Superstar K,” is in the process of founding 10 schools in poverty-stricken areas across Africa.

The 46-year-old has been working closely with Good Neighbors, an international humanitarian and development NGO, in a joint effort to construct the schools. The first “Lee and Chad School” opened this February in the Saharan nation.

Lee has been donating some of the profits made from CD and DVD sales to construct the schools in Africa. To raise more funds, he will hold a charity concert with all proceeds going towards the project.

The “Save Africa” outdoor concert will be held at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan, central Seoul, at 8 p.m. on June 1 and 2.

“After my visit to Africa in February, I became more motivated to help the impoverished in the continent, so I came up with the name of the concert myself,” Lee said in an interview.

He said he hopes to elicit broader support from more people to support his ongoing charity work.

“In the past, it was a virtue to do good deeds secretively by sticking to the famous Bible verse: ‘Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.’ Things have changed these days.

“I believe it is one of my missions, as a singer and celebrity making a living off of the public’s love for my music, to draw more support from the public to help the impoverished by spreading the news with my status as a celebrity.”

Constructing schools in Africa is essentially a village reconstruction project. Not only are education facilities built for the community, but cafeterias and public health clinics are also established alongside.

“We need to build facilities such as a milk sterilization or baked goods factory,” Lee said. “Recently, I have succeeded in persuading my personal acquaintances who operate a milk company or own a bakery to make a donation to our ongoing project in Chad.”

Lee will put on a special show alongside a children’s choir from the Sun Duk Orphanage. The 15 members from this local orphanage choir, comprised of elementary to high school students, will sing three songs with Lee on stage including “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson.

“The first time I listened to the voices of the Sun Duk Orphanage Choir was in March and I fell in love with them. I wanted to give these kids an opportunity to show their musical talents where more people could appreciate the their voices.”

Lee visited the Sun Duk Orphanage to request a joint performance with the children at his concert. Last year, he said he learned about the educational value of music when he conducted a choir in collaboration with inmates from a local juvenile detention center.

“Music does not discriminate people based on their age, sex or income. Music is the best remedy to heal emotional illness,” Lee said. “Singing gives you happiness and empowers you with positive thoughts, leading to inner fulfillment.”
By Song Ji-hye[enational@joongang.co.kr]
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