17th Sep, 2019

Preparations for Akamba's third Big Jam Music Fest are well under way

Emily Fish 15th May, 2017

SOLIHULL is set to embrace African culture as a borough-based business plays host to its annual African-themed festival.

Akamba in Dicken’s Heath is holding its third Big Jam Music Fest in June to raise money for the Akamba Children’s Education Fund (ACEF) – a charity set up by business owner Chris Canaan.

Chris has visited and worked in Kenya for over 20 years, supporting schools throughout the slums of Nairobi to help achieve a quality education for children with limited finances and resources.

The Big Jam Fest will stage ten live bands and five styles of music including Motown, Soul, Reggae, Dance and Pop.

Alongside face painting, children will have the opportunity to experience the beauty of African beaches for just £1.

Adults can join in when they visit the tropical house – an educational activity promoting African culture.

Chris said: “Big Jam Fest is not just about raising awareness for Kenya, but about people coming together.

“It’s a very humble event.”

Chris and his Kenya-based team work directly with Brainhouse Academy, a school in Mathare North, Kenya – one of the world’s largest slums.

In 2011, they installed two solar panels – donated by Mitsubishi – to power the pump for the water tank, which they built a platform for. The team also helped maintain the vegetable garden, using tyres to improve their longevity.

In addition to the hands-on support, 20,000 sanitary towels were donated, in light of ‘Period Poverty’ – an issue concerning the price of essential items, making them almost unattainable.

The children were overwhelmed by the aid, as it has not only benefitted the school’s learning but the pupils’ well-being too.

However, Chris’ vision for education in Kenya does not end here.

He has recently introduced links with British schools and the voluntary sector, where volunteers exchange work-life experiences with teachers and students at the academy.

Chris also wants to encourage the use of creative education, which he described as a ‘unique and educational experience totally different to anything else.’

As part of this interactive style of learning, Akamba is offering an African bird-walk.

For more information on ACEF or to donate visit www.acef.uk.com/

The Big Jam Festival will take place at Akamba on Saturday, June 3 from 12pm.

Tickets are available to purchase at www.akambabigjammusicfest.co.uk/ or by calling 0121 733 3111

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