KIM MATTHEWS

DURBAN MUSIC SCHOOL

What does your company do?

We empower vulnerable, disabled, orphaned and disadvantaged children by giving them free music education which enables them to get a diploma through the Royal or Trinity Schools of Music, London and they are then able to find employment in the music industry. We identify children who have talent and are committed and give them everything they need for 8 years to be able to learn to play a musical instrument of their choice. We give them an instrument, lessons in practical, theory and ensemble training. We pay for their transport to and from the school, sheet music, uniforms, exams and anything else they need. We have many young Black South Africans who now work for the school as fully qualified music educators who have been educated through the school. We have many ensembles and we perform concerts of our community and educational concerts at primary schools in the townships around Durban and Pietermaritzburg. We have outreach programs to a two primary schools where we have large violin programs and a program at the Open Air School for the physically disabled where we teach over 180 children. We have community programs for the children of Albert Park so that they don't run around the streets in the afternoons i.e. chess, boxing and gym.

What is your biggest success?

I have been. able to raise funds for 19 years to be able to give approximately 600 children annually music education. I have also taken musicians all over the world on cultural exchanges thereby showing the world that South Africa has excellence in education. In 2017 I took the senior ensemble to Carnegie Hall in New York to a youth music competition where we competed against 36 countries from around the world. We came in the first 5 winning a Gold award. I have had the First Lady of China Madam Peng visit the school and have visited The People's Republic of China three times on an exchange enhancing the social cohesion between our countries. I have received a Living Legend Award from the eThekwini Municipality and sit on the National Arts Council Board. I am the Deputy Chair of the Federation of Communities Art Centres in KZN. I am also the Chairperson of the Paw-Paw Foundation looking after vulnerable people. My greatest achievement has to be the gratitude I feel. It is an absolute honour and privilege to be able to help children who have no possible way of changing the situation they are born into and give them a chance at an amazing life. I am humbled to be the hands, eyes, and mouth of God on earth and be able to serve these incredible children and make a difference. So many people have helped to make this a reality and I am overwhelmed by gratitude to everyone I have met through my life and my work.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Raising funds to be able to offer children the chance at a better life. The school has the capacity to teach 1700 children annually and it could employ 60 young Black South Africans if I could raise the funds I need to do that. The school is also a heritage building having been built in 1880 and it needs extensive repair and security updates. I need to raise fund for this as well.