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During first days of camp, all children go through a thorough medical exam, including dental examinations. Those with more serious issues are brought to a larger, nearby, city for further examination and treatment. Children learn about hygiene, first aid, smoking, addictions, and AIDS prevention. Ukraine has the highest rate of AIDS infection in Europe. If current growth rates continue, it may become comparable to some hard-hit areas of Africa.
Human Trafficking for the purpose of exploitation is a serious issue for Ukraine. Many orphans fall prey to traffickers after graduation from their orphanage. Building awareness is an important first step in preventing the trafficking of girls and boys from this area. 60% of girls are trafficked or end up in prostitution within their first year out of their orphanage.
Psychological & Spiritual Me
Orphans who leave their orphanage do not have a family to provide them with social and emotional support.These workshops help them raise their self awareness and self confidence by improving their communication skills and helping them find their place in society.
Children learn to sew by creating pillow cases and bed covers, which they get to keep at the end of camp, replacing old ones, or receiving new ones for the first time. Some children with disabilities, although are not fully mobile, have healthy hands and can sew. This can propel them towards a future career. At the end of camp, the sewing machines are all donated to schools who need it most.
Children learn valuable computer skills that are essential when entering the business world. They learn to write a resume and use spreadsheets. All computers are donated to orphanages at the end of camp. A new laptop is also awarded to a child every year.
The Artist In Me
The children‘s creativity and imagination is explored and encouraged, through art instruction. There is also a focus on different art therapies allowing children to express and discover themselves in a calm, safe and soothing environment.
Most children have been mistreated or abused in some way. Children learn different methods of self defence, with a focus on a Ukrainian traditional self defence style – the “Bojovey Hopak”. Professional martial artists train the children, in order to improve self confidence, including physical and psychological well being.
We have sports tournaments uniting all campers for baseball, volleyball and soccer. The last few years we have had very special instruction for baseball. Many children never having played before, quickly learn to love the game.
Volunteers from “Vertep”, a Ukrainian cultural organization, teach children different traditional customs and folk songs. They are encouraged to sing, dance and learn various folk tales.
During the first days of camp, all children walk through a large gym and receive the donations collected from abroad throughout the year. They are provided with clothes, shoes, toys, hygiene products and other supplies. They take these items back to their orphanage.
Groups explore the beautiful mountains and countryside on rotation. They visit local museums and hike nearby trails. Each group, including those with disabilities climb “Hoverla”, Ukraine’s highest mountain, as a symbol of overcoming challenges and reaching future goals.
Nearing the end of camp, a large festival is organized where Ukrainian celebrities and prominent individuals visit the children putting on a great show. The children display their amazing talents and all they have learned during their stay at camp. The day is filled with lots of singing, dancing, martial arts, acrobatics, fireworks and anything else you can dream of. It is definitely a major highlight concluding our summer camp.