Search

Newham pupils to create opera based on life of child refugee who went from jail to university

PUBLISHED: 14:33 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:33 13 December 2017

The opera will be based on the life of child refugee and University of East London (UEL) graduate Jonathan Lofulo, pictured.

The opera will be based on the life of child refugee and University of East London (UEL) graduate Jonathan Lofulo, pictured.

University of East London

A child refugee who spent time in prison before earning a first-class degree is to have an original opera made of his life.

Canning Town resident Jonathan Lofulo, 30, fled the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo at approximately age 10 and fell in with a tough crowd before turning his life around to help young people.

Now, more than 250 Newham children from Lister, Rokeby, Sarah Bonnell, Upton Cross and Portway schools will help to create a production inspired by his experiences - both good and bad.

Newham Music CEO John Bergin, whose charity will provide guidance along with Royal Opera House-affiliated composers affiliated, called the project an innovative and inclusive community project.

He said: “Drawing inspiration from Jonathan Lofolo, our young people will create music to celebrate opportunity and the rich cultural diversity of Newham.

“We hope that this unique project will inspire our young people to share their experiences and explore the musical world around them.”

Jonathan, who recently met students from Lister Community School to recount his experiences, showed early promise as a sportsman in his formative years in Newham.

He trained as a footballer with West Ham and Arsenal football academies but after falling by the wayside, he was jailed for burglary.

Upon his release, he started turning his life around and graduated from a education studies course at University of East London in 2016.

He is now working on a master’s degree in Refugee Studies at UEL and wants to work with troubled teenagers.

Over the past month he has attended several opera development sessions to talk with the youngsters and impart some understanding of his life.

He said: “Jonathan said, “Speaking to the kids is a chance for me to highlight the importance of being educated. I’m able to reach out to these children and share my experience with them – and learn from them as well.”

Work on the opera will take place through 2018, with performances scheduled for July 10 at the Newham Music Festival of Youth.

The pupils’ relatives will also take part in the performances.

Related articles

Latest Newham Stories

09:35

Essex Senior League: Saffron Walden Town 4 Clapton 0

Essex Senior League
12:00

A young filmmaker has shone a spotlight on an outreach scheme trying to tackle knife crime.

United Kingdom

The power of sport remains unrivalled in its ability to inspire change, improve lives and unite communities.

Premier League

Councillor Susan Masters, Clare Roche, Head of Fundraising at Richard House and Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz.

Newham
Yesterday, 18:11

London Lions maintained their lead at the top of the BBL Championship with victory on the road against Worcester Wolves.

LIONS
Yesterday, 17:00

Imam Haque lives in East Ham, and soon he’ll begin training for his first London Marathon, for Age UK.

European Union
Yesterday, 16:56

Leyton Orient came from behind to beat Bromley and extend their unbeaten run in the National League to six matches, while also returning to the top of the table.

Dean Brill
Yesterday, 16:00

The inexperienced teenager tasked with overseeing West Ham United women’s team will have his journey followed in a new BBC Three series.

United Kingdom

PROMOTED CONTENT

Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now