About Ray Barnett

Ray Barnett has had an unbelievable journey – the stories you will follow on this blog seem just that, unbelievable. But everything we share is true, and has inspired many people’s lives, including 1,000’s of orphaned and vulnerable African children, and now we are hoping to inspire YOU too!

Ray Barnett speaking live about his life work

Ray speaking live about his life work


Ray was raised in the Coleraine area of County Derry in Northern Ireland, where at age 14 he discovered that he had been adopted as a young baby after his mother had died in the Blitz. Ray struggled with his early years due to severe dyslexia, of which he didn’t formally identify until much later in life. This barrier caused Ray to become an outcast, nervous in front of his peers.

As a teenager Ray went on to work in a photographic studio where his boss introduced him to his faith. This faith took Ray on an amazing path that led him to British Columbia, Canada, the place he would then call home.

Whilst working as a humanitarian in later years, as the founder of Friends in the West, Ray’s main efforts were directed towards helping Christians around the world that were in imprisoned or taking refuge, in war torn countries, because of their beliefs.

Ray Barnett leading Siberian Seven March

Ray leading a march to free the Siberian Seven in London back in the 1970’s


On a car journey towards a Church meeting where he was due to speak about his work, Ray heard a startling statistic over the radio that changed his life forever – 150,000 children were starving to death in Northern Uganda – this was 1984.

Ray had visited Uganda before, and had been touched by the singing of one small boy, he knew he had to return to Uganda and help these children… The African Children’s Choir was born.

This was nearly 30 years ago, and to date, The African Children’s Choir has educated over 50,000 children in parts of Africa’s most underprivileged societies, and helped in excess of 100,000 children through relief projects.The choirs have performed for Presidents and Royalty, as well as touring the globe, raising funds as they go.

The choirs most recent triumph was singing on the number one single ‘Sing’ alongside Gary Barlow, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and The Military Wife’s Choir. The song was then performed and broadcast live to billions of people around the world at her majesty’s Jubilee celebrations.

Gary Barlow and The African Children's Choir

Pictures from Ray’s trip to Uganda where the children of the choir were featured in Gary Barlow’s documentary about the making of the hit single ‘Sing’ for the Queen’s Jubilee.

The funds raised from The African Children’s Choir have allowed the team to set up ‘The African Children’s Choir Primary School’ near the city of Entebbe and ‘Music for Life Centres’ across Uganda and Kenya, as well as funding the education for all of the children involved in the programme.
Ray Barnett with Sir Bob Geldof

Ray talking to Sir Bob Geldof.

But Ray doesn’t want to stop there. He is sharing his story and bringing the subject of orphaned and vulnerable children to light, through his 12 Million Orphans and counting blog, in hope that his good work continues through others.

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