Kiwi choreographer Parris Goebel highlights Ugandan dancers in newest project

World-famous Kiwi choreographer Parris Goebel has a new project in one of Africa's refugee hotspots.

While working for World Vision in Uganda, she's discovered a talented pool of dancers - a group of young children who are full of life, despite facing their own challenges.

They've fled brutal fighting and famine in South Sudan to find a home in a Ugandan refugee camp.

"A lot of them lose their parents or families are killed along the way. Just horrible stories," Goebel told Newshub.

"You feel like kids should not be experiencing that. They shouldn't have to go through that."

Goebel is more commonly seen mixing with superstars like Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber, but she's pretty impressed with the dancing she found in Uganda. They even made up a routine for her.

"They don't have YouTube, they don't have Instagram, they don't have the internet - so they're just going off what they think is cool, what feels right," Goebell said.

She spent three days in the northern part of Uganda and it left its mark on her.

"As you're driving you're just seeing hundreds and hundreds of huts. You're seeing hundreds of women carrying things on their heads, babies wrapped around their backs; a lot of people are barefooted walking on the dirt - and it just went for miles and miles."

Goebel found the children's stories harrowing.

"You start to rethink everything from the way you live life, to how much you give. All those things I think you start to really prioritise," she said.

"It's something I'm passionate about and it's something that I want to help out with and raise awareness."

There are more than 600,000 South Sudanese children living in Uganda - that's more than the population of the Wellington region.

This year World Vision's 40-Hour Famine appeal, which starts next week, is focusing its efforts on this group.


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