Peter Corry sings the praises of orphanage school on trip to Mozambique
Belfast-born singer Peter Corry has been hitting the high notes with orphans in Africa after an emotional fundraising trip to Mozambique.
The West End star flew out especially for a St Patrick's Day performance at the Maputo Embassy, raising £7,000 for the Casa Da Alegria School and Orphanage.
The proceeds from his performances at the three-day event will help educate the 500 children who use Casa Da Alegria, 100 of whom are orphaned and up to 70% of whom have HIV.
"It was very emotional and you couldn't let the children see you break down," said Mr Corry, who got back to London yesterday after spending a week in the country.
"Where the orphanage is, is next to a massive rubbish tip, which the children sift through, and it was heartbreaking to see.
"We were given a tour and some of the kids sang for us and we spent some time talking with them, but there was a little girl there who was so unused to human affection that when I tried to pick her up she just seemed lost, then when I gave her a hug she didn't want me to put her down."
Mr Corry had been invited by his friend Liz Bottomley, who lives in the country, to perform alongside Irish band Sugan from Co Carlow. She had organised a string of fundraising events which included a gala dinner and beach party to help boost the proceeds for the orphanage.
Although it was his first trip to Africa, seeing the orphanage first-hand had such an impact that Corry says he feels compelled to do more fundraising for it.
"It was the biggest party in town that week," said the father-of-three.
"It seems the Irish have that reputation of being good for a party and especially on St Patrick's Day, but seeing something like that really puts things in perspective for you.
"There were babies there only four weeks old, some of the kids were there because they had no parents and others because their parents abandoned them or couldn't cope. Some get visitors on a Sunday, and with some of the kids no one comes to visit.
"It was very sad, although the Sisters there are doing the best they can to give them an education and a start in life.
"All charities are worthy, there's no way of choosing one better than another, really, but I've decided that proceeds from The Music Box performances, which are split between four charities, will also benefit the orphanage."
A generous fundraiser, Mr Corry's next concert in June will raise money and awareness for Concern, which helps destitute people in the Third World.