Ukraine: Inclusive summer camp brings joy

Ukraine: Inclusive summer camp brings joy in everyday life marked by the coronavirus

Getting away from it all – summer holidays, here we come!  60 children and teenagers with about half of them having a mental disability had a lot of fun at the KOLPING summer camp in Vinnytsja.

Playing, doing arts and crafts and cooking together, going on field trips helped to foster group dynamics and to strengthen a sense of togetherness among participants. Everyone learned from others. In an arts project run by a female painter, the children and teens had a chance to express their dreams, feelings and experience in a painting which they created together.

A large number of volunteers made this camp possible. Parents, teachers, coaches and some of the camp participants cared for participants with special needs. The one-week summer camp ended with a camp party for participants and their families. The kids presented their pictures and paintings, performed some dances and some parents realized that their children had strengths they had not been aware of before.

Kolping managing director Vasyl Savka was very enthusiastic about the camp: “Every individual benefitted from that week together. Children without a developmental delay knew at the end of the camp what the idea of inclusion is all about. And they will tell their friends about it. Now they understand that being different is normal. We have so much more in common than we think!”

This camp was sponsored by the regional administration and from government grants.