Almost exactly a year ago, former child soldier turned musician made a commitment to raise funds to build schools in Sudan and Eastern Africa Prior to his rescue by an international aid worker, Emmanuel had endured the worst atrocities thinkable for a human being, let alone a child Since then he has used his powerful testimony, along with GUA, the charity he established, to bring more awareness to the plight of children in the impoverished parts of those regions. In August 2009 he was invited to tell his story at the immensely popular TED conference:
More about Emmanuel, from ted.com:
Hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal first exploded into dance halls with Gua in 2005. His music has energized music lovers of all ethnicities and nations. But Jal’s life story is far darker. Swept up into the Sudanese rebel army at age seven, he finally escaped with 400 fellow soldiers, 16 of whom survived, the rest succumbing to starvation, ambush and animal attacks. Rather than resort to cannibalism, Jal ate snails and vultures until he arrived at a refugee camp, where he was adopted by aid worker Emma McCune and later sent to England.
Jal found an outlet for his turbulent life story in music. His lyrics tell moving and disturbing stories, but wrap them into hope and love. He is active in charity work across Africa, fighting against poverty and child warfare. War Child, his biography, was released in early 2009 along with a documentary film.
« Jal’s narrative flows between darkness and light, the terror that befell his family and kinsmen, the horrors he went on to inflict upon others, and a deep-seated desire to set things right. » Washington Post