Hope and Healing: The Power of Play
Play time is limited for refugee children. Unless they are one of the lucky ones who is able to attend a makeshift school, they are stuck in their refugee camp or may be working in the fields with their parents. Two years ago, we started partnering with a group who wanted to find a way to put on day camps for refugee children. Since then, not only have we been able to sponsor day camps but also three-day camps.
At least for a little while, they get to just be kids. They get to get away from the refugee camps, be fed, get medical care, play games, do art, sing, and even play in water!
Types of Camps
Note: Since refugee children are often not in school, we work with our local partners to provide these camps year-round. We have found that these are powerful opportunities for these children to find hope, build resiliency, and start to dream again.
Children are picked up at their refugee camps and brought to the closest location. Kids get to play games, do art projects, sing, and have a meal. At the end of the day they are bussed back to their refugee camps. The camps are based on a 3-day curriculum so children come to camp 3 days in a row, after which time, other children are given a chance to attend.
Overnight camps are very similar to the day camps except that children are able to stay on site instead of having to be picked up and dropped off each morning and afternoon. They last 3 days, afterwhich time the kids are bussed back "home" to their refugee camps. While at the camp, kids get to play, sing, watch skits, do art, and they get three meals a day.
The level of trauma that refugee children have experienced means that more needs to be done to help them begin to heal. In light of this, WAM started partnering with experts who were able to provide child-specific trauma training to local camp counselors along with trauma-specific camp curriculum. These can be used in either the day and overnight camps.