SOUTHFIELD, Michigan (WJRT) - (12/01/2017) - On World AIDS day, a group of young people from South Africa are taking the stage in metro Detroit tonight to share a message of hope.
They're known as the Key of Hope choir.
Named for their potential to unlock the future, through becoming ambassadors for a brighter tomorrow.
We wanted to learn more about the story behind the mission, ahead of their stops in Mid Michigan, later this month.
The young people who took to the stage smiling Friday evening hail from Durban, South Africa.
Their country has the largest HIV epidemic in the world according to UNAIDS.
Some have lost a parent to AIDS or are HIV positive as a result of mother-to-child transmission or assault. Poverty is prevalent.
"The combination of AIDS and poverty is absolutely devastating," said Key of Hope founder Dan Smither.
in 2007, Dan and his wife Rachel, both Michigan natives, packed their bags, sold their belongings, and boarded a plane bound for South Africa with their four daughters.
"I think the difference that I am making in their lives isn't necessarily through the music, because I do have the choir," said Choir Director Rachel Smither, "but it's consistency, and it's love, it's showing up, it's being involved in their life, caring about them, asking the right questions."
Their faith-based ministry, Key of Hope, feeds families, pays tuition fees so kids can go to school, and provides tutoring and mentoring services.
"Maybe I wouldn't be in school," said 11-year old Malita MBande, "my mother couldn't afford school fees."
Malita lost her mom to Aids, and her dad was electrocuted while at work. Right now she and her siblings live with her older cousin. She's determined to continue her education so she can pursue her dreams.
"I want to change my community," she said, "I want to change where I live."
"I'm excited to sing about God,praising him and changing people's lives," she added.
Hope fed by faith, that she now wants to share with others.
The Key of Hope Tour is coming to Holly, Goodrich and Grand Blanc later this month. For more information just click on the link to the left of this story.