Elisabeth-Norgall Awardee 2019
Prof. Chungja Agnes Kim
„Chungja Agnes Kim, Her Love for Africa“ (김청자의 아프리카 사랑)
-From international opera houses to a village in Malawi-
Professor Chungja Agnes Kim was born in South Korea in 1944 and studied piano and singing in Germany and Austria in the 1960s. She was the first Korean mezzo-soprano in Europe with many engagements in prestigious opera houses and taught at the Korean National University of Arts.
During her sabbatical in 2004, full of gratitude for the fulfilled, successful and privileged professional life that she had been able to live, she set out in search of a „life’s work“ and eventually found her calling at the Lusubilo Orphan Care Community in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world. After her retirement in 2010, she started her project „Chungja Agnes Kim, Her Love for Africa” (김청자의 아프리카 사랑) in Karonga in Malawi. Since then, she has been living and working there with AIDS orphans, children and adolescents, and, by giving them the opportunity to experience music, art and sports, attempts to keep them off the streets.
A matter of particular concern to Chungja Agnes Kim is education and schooling. This is especially true for girls, who are at a serious disadvantage in Malawi when compared with the boys. Various scholarships even enable them to attend high school.
In addition to the establishment of youth centres and a drawing school, she also opened a music centre in which talented, enthusiastic children and young people are supported and encouraged, to enable them to realise their dreams as professional musicians. The Lusubilo band, which is now known throughout Malawi, was born out of this project. "Lusubilo" means hope. The band has already had the opportunity to perform in Korea, in Frankfurt in the Senckenberg Museum and in Berlin.
In 2015 a primary school for 8 grade levels together with teachers’ accommodation was completed in the village. The children themselves even contributed to the funding, when exhibitions in Korea, showing the work of the drawing school pupils, raised a considerable sum through generous donations. The children, of which there are around 400, now no longer have to walk for hours to get to the next school and can start their school day with a breakfast that is provided for them.
Moreover, Chungja Agnes Kim is committed to other social projects, such as the construction of 23 wells in Karonga. These wells provide many people with vital clean water and have also eased the daily burden for many women and children considerably.
With the teachings of faith, love, discipline, passion and gratitude which she gives her children, Chungja Agnes Kim strives to give them hope and perspective for the future through education and promotion of their talents.
Chairperson Norgall-Award-Committee 2018/2019 - 1. Vice President Yong-Hi Yim-Siegels