Last fall, the name "Sarah Rasmussen" seemed to pop up consistently in Amani ya Juu's online donations report. We assumed that name belonged to the mother of an Amani Uganda intern, Rachel Rasmussen. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Sarah is actually Rachel's little sister, who was donating her piano competition winnings! The following is an interview that we were excited to do with Sarah:
1. Tell us a little about playing the piano. Why did you start, why is it important to you, will you pursue it in college, etc.
Playing the piano was something I started with my grandmother when I was four years old. She, being a lifetime music teacher, emphasized the importance of music in my siblings’ and my life by teaching us piano and taking us to classical music concerts. With these experiences early in my life, I fell in love with music and playing the piano. Performing is an incredible experience that has the capability to impact an audience. Music’s communication of emotion and beauty is able to make an entire audience hold its breath, or cry, or roar with applause. Music is such a universal language... it is inspiring. In addition, God has given me this talent, and I am privileged to have the opportunity to reach for my fullest potential. I just love playing the piano!
2. Why did you decide to donate part of your winnings to charity?
Growing up in church, I always knew that giving back to God was important, so when I began winning competitions and earning money from playing the piano, I made sure to give at least ten percent of the money. I believe that giving is not only obedience but also worship to God; he has blessed me incomprehensibly, and being able to give back to Him some of what, really, already belongs to Him, is a small way to thank Him for His provision and also just to help continue the Church furthering His love.
3. Why did you pick Amani as an organization that you wanted to donate to?
When I had money to give, I really wanted to give some of it outside of my home church and I wanted specifically to give to an organization that does development work. I found out about Amani from, of course, my sister as she interned in Africa for six months, and it really fit the type of organization I wanted to support. I really love the fact that Amani helps enable marginalized women, as I think this is such an important thing that has not seemed, to me growing up, to be a very emphasized cause.
4. What would you like to do as a career one day?
Right now, I am auditioning at music conservatories in the USA to get a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance as I pursue my dream of becoming a great concert pianist.