MOTIVATED: Brazilian-born Byron resident Andre Comaru will offer a music fundraiser later this month to support his charity work in Fiji.
MOTIVATED: Brazilian-born Byron resident Andre Comaru will offer a music fundraiser later this month to support his charity work in Fiji. Constantin Cristea

He quit his job to go to Fiji, but this is no holiday

A BYRON-based Brazilian man is leaving his job and his life on the Northern Rivers to travel to Fiji to help re-build communities affected by natural disasters.

Andre Camaru has, until now, been the national campus marketing manager at SAE and has lived in the Byron Shire for the last 10 years.

He started the Be Happy Music Club in 2016, when he took sabbatical year to do volunteer work somewhere in Fiji.

"The islands had just been affected by a category 5 cyclone and I thought I could help to re-build communities, schools, etc" he said.

"I ended up been invited to play music to the children from the Fiji School for the Blind in Suva.

"We have our music program in four schools for children living with disabilities, two schools in Suva, one Sigatoka and one in Savusavu.

"We run weekly classes lead by local musicians, and our mission is to bring music to children living with a disability, promote social inclusion, musical ability, self-expression and enjoyment."

Camaru and his team in Fiji launched a fundraising campaign called If You Believe Music Can Change The World, aming to raise $30,000 to pay for the wages of the Fijian musicians, instruments, transport, food, training, registration fees and communication costs.

"This will give us space to think ahead and plan for the future," he said.

"There are another 13 special schools in Fiji waiting for our music program. We also aim to start Be Happy Music Club in Australia in the next 12 months.

"We are a registered Australian not-for-profit organisation, and all donations are tax deductible. One hour of music classes costs us $20."

Camaru will host a fundraiser gig in Brunswick Heads.

" I will be playing some tunes and fundraising for the Be happy Music Club," he said.

"This will be my last gig before heading back to Fiji. I always bring some extra instruments and children,love coming up to the stage to have a jam with the little drums.

"I will perform my own songs, plus a selection of covers by Bob Marley, Tracey Chapman, Neil Young, Sublime, Xavier Rudd, Marvin Gay and also some Brazilian songs, from the North East, where I come from."

  • At the Broken Head Community Hall on Monday, August 19, from 5pm.


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