Happy news to report…
Joel Kioko arrives in London today to start training at English National Ballet School.
Wait. Who? Ballet? So what?
But read on, it’s well worth it…
Lunchbowl Network www.lunchbowl.org is a local charity that The Brothers Trust are supporting. Very quickly; staffed entirely by volunteers, they feed and educate children in Kibera, Kenya, the largest slum dwelling on earth.
Joel is 17 and grew up in Kibera but he has plans to pirouette his way out of the slum and help his people at the same time.
His talent was spotted after he followed his female cousin to a rudimentary ballet class. Joel’s talent quickly became obvious – just like Billy Elliot and before long, Joel began teaching classes himself to the kids in his slum.
The kids love him and his classes – but to develop himself and help his people, Joel needed to see just how talented he really is.
In April this year, Joel was invited to audition for the English National Ballet School – another charity paid for his flights and our friends at LunchBowl asked if Tom would meet him for a film they were making documenting his visit. Tom was at home (a rare thing these days) and he went along to White Lodge Ballet School, the home of English ballet. Tom had last visited this school when he was 8 years old. It was for a showcase for local dance classes from the area and where Tom got spotted and put on a road that took in the West End and now sees him wearing spandex for a living.
Joel aced the audition and was awarded a full scholarship, but he still needs to raise funds for his living expenses and this film explains these needs and directs any people who want to help him to a give.net page.
And this is a link to his remarkable story so far – and who knows where it might lead to from here…
…he could become a professional dancer or even a movie star; stranger things have happened. That day when we took Tom to White Lodge all those years ago with Sam and Harry also – it was just for fun. Had someone said to me that day that one day I would be writing a blog post such as this I would have just laughed at such a prospect and yet here I am…