Eagle-Eye Cherry,Sophie Zelmani,Uno Svenningsson,Darin Zanyar.Photo:Dave Russell/Radio Sweden

Swedish music stars help the children of Manilla

"People were living like rats"
4:55 min

"A trip of a lifetime" airs Tuesday evening on Sweden's TV4. It sounds like a reality television show on-board a luxury cruise liner but in fact it could not be more different. The short series follows four big names in the Swedish music industry who travelled last autumn to one of the world's poorest countries, the Philippines.

In Manilla, Darin Zanyar, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Sophie Zelmani and Uno Svenningsson experienced first hand the appalling living conditions that many children endure. But on a brighter note, the artists also visited the SOS Children's Village in Manilla, which provides permanent homes to orphaned and abandoned children. The chairty has eight such homes in the Philippines and 133 worldwide. It prefers that people sponsor a child or a village rather than donate a sum of money, in order to provide a more stable future. 

Former Pop Idol, Darin, told Radio Sweden that one journey to Smokey Mountain was a humbling experience:"Smokey Mountain is a whole area in Manilla that is filled with rubbish and people live their and work their everyday like 9-year-old Angel.

"She worked in a factory everyday and it is crazy to see, the air is so bad that people have a life expectancy of 40.

"Angel told me that her dream is to go to school and become a doctor."  

While in Manilla, Darin Zanyar co-wrote Dream Away with Eagle-Eye Cherry. In the TV4 programme, all four artists were given the task of providing the vulnerable children of the Philippines a voice through their music.

"While we were there the music was the last thing I wanted to think about but when I started writing I had so many things in my head that it wasn't so hard to write about my experiences," Darin told Radio Sweden.

Eagle-Eye Cherry said the misery and the way people live in Manilla was unbearable to see but he was uplifted by his experiences at the SOS Children's Village. He told Radio Sweden:"It was incredibly positive and it was hard to imagine that the children came from the kind of situations that we had seen.

"It was cool to see what this organisation is doing and I love the concept that it is not just giving the kids a roof over their heads or food to eat but it is about giving them a family."   

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