Founder, The Elewana Music Project
Amelia Combrink has spent the majority of the last six years in Arusha, the safari capital of Northern Tanzania, where she lives with her husband and baby Johann.
Prior to the Sistema Fellows Program, Amelia was employed by Braeburn International School where she taught the British curriculum to children of all ages, led music clubs, choirs, coached singing and dancing for theatre productions, and managed other musical events. In particular, she enjoyed incorporating Kiswahili songs and traditional dancing and drumming into her curriculum.
Amelia has been involved in development work in the Arusha community since 2010. She served as secretary and education advisor on the Board for the NGO Shining A Light for four years; an empowerment program for underprivileged single mothers teaching them leatherwork, beading and textiles, business skills, finance, healthcare, English, reading and writing. During a seven month stint as Programme Manager of the Pastoral Women’s Council, Amelia worked with members of the marginalised Masaai community who seek to secure rights to education, legal support, healthcare and economic empowerment for their people, and especially girls. Through her work, the organisation won substantial funding from the highly competitive UN Fund for Gender Equality.
Since 2013, Amelia has assisted on medical clinics, and done communications and fundraising work for her husband’s missionary organisation, Mission Aviation Fellowship Tanzania. MAF flies government medical teams and local missionaries into isolated communities for regular ante-natal and baby clinics, Bible teaching, and carries out emergency medical evacuations.
Amelia is an active member of the music community in Arusha, where she has managed events including a collaboration concert between Kenyan and Arusha choirs and workshops with traditional Tanzanian musicians. She is excited to use music education, particularly her experiences during the Fellowship, as a powerful tool for transforming communities, and she is passionate about seeing children experience their rich musical heritage and celebrate their musical identity. In 2017, Amelia hopes to launch the Elewana Music Project at Christchurch International Primary School in Arusha. The project will involve training Tanzanian music teachers to deliver ensemble lessons that feature traditional and contemporary Tanzanian music and dance, as well as Western genres. Elewana means “harmony” in Swahili.
Photo: Joanna Tomlins