Sunshine Camp For the differently-abled

27 August 2013 04:44 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Mandulee Mendis

“The Sunshine Camp for the Differently Abled was organised for the forty-first year this time by the Dehiwela YMCA from August 24 – 25,” Suzanne Therese Paiva, co-chairperson and consultant for media, communication and fundraising said.

“This organisation was started forty-one years ago at ‘Bishop’s House’, Colombo and later it was handed over to the YMCA of Colombo. There were obstacles like having no proper place to hold the sessions and not enough fundraisers and donors. As a solution for the space issue, classes were held in schools during the month of August, when school holidays began. Through difficulties of this sort, this annual camp was held for forty-one years.’

Marking history she said: ‘Today we have eleven homes for the differently-abled where they are boarded, and the rest who join us are day scholars,’. Suzanne also mentioned that this body ran on sponsors.

“Speaking of this year’s camp, we have about two hundred and thirty participants which increase to around three hundred when the parents and matrons are included.  We have a database of the participants of each year and about two to three months before the camp, we send out applications reminding them to apply for the camp. There are also others who have got to know about this by word-of-mouth. During the camp which is held for two days, approximately a hundred-and-fifty stay in these premises while the others go home and come the next day.”  

Suzanne pointed out, that the main intention of holding this camp was to take the differently-abled people out of their homes, let them enjoy and have some fun also making them learn little concepts like leadership and team work through the diverse activities performed during the camp sessions. “It’s a good way to practically teach them notions like waiting in a line, help their colleagues, cheer for the fellow man, work as a team and perform with their talents,” she further explained.

This time, for the sunshine camp, there are volunteer helpers from Taiwan and China. ‘We have around forty helpers received through a leadership programme and we call them our camp staff.’

Among the activities and sessions held during the  sunshine camp this year, the mini Olympics and sports activities, the talent competition and the campfire held on the first day, and the fancy dress parade and hand printing on t-shirts held on the second day were special.

“Since most of the parents of the participants are poor in wealth, they don’t get many chances to engage their children in things like this. Therefore they are quite happy to be a part of the camp. The support is mostly extended by personal donors and the parents can’t give much financial support since they are poor in wealth as I mentioned earlier,” Suzanne stated.“We are very happy that we could make this year’s Sunshine Camp a success. If the participants enjoyed, that was our aim,” Suzanne Paiva concluded.

Pix by Nisal Baduge






“We have come from the Hong Kong YMCA for internships. We are quite happy that the Negombo YMCA sent us to this Sunshine Camp where we can lend our support to make the differently-abled people happy. We have seen how the participants enjoy, clap, laugh, dance and sing. It’s not that they often get such chances. So this is really a praiseworthy event. We have been helping with the work since the beginning and we are happy to be a part of it. We’re trying at our finest to help them to the best of our ability.’

"We have seen how the participants enjoy, clap, laugh, dance and sing. It’s is not that they often get such chances"




 



“My son is participating in this camp and I’m so happy that they are having such an event where they could also enjoy forgetting that they are different from the rest of the people out there.It is a difference for them and just like us they also like to experience differences. When the children are happy, we are also happy as parents.
The participants not only get enjoyment, but also some kind of knowledge about dealing with people.The staff are very good and they treat everybody the same. We participate in this camp every year and we’re so grateful for it.”


"Just like us they also like to experience differences. When the children are happy, we are also happy as parents"

 


“I’m so happy to have participated in this camp. It was an enjoyable event which made us so happy.
Yesterday during the talent competition I sang a song and my friends cheered for me.
 I was very excited to sing on a stage in front of a big audience.
The staff gives us a lot of support and helps us with everything.”


" It was an enjoyable event which made us so happy. I was very excited to sing on a stage in front of a big audience"
 



The main intention of holding this camp was to take the differently-abled people out of their homes, let them enjoy and have some fun also making them learn little concepts like leadership and team work
 
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