The children under our care come with many challenges but despite their dark pasts which hinder their identity development, Wema Centre still endeavors to give hope for tomorrow. With histories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, child labor, drug and substance abuse, alcoholism, dysfunctional families neglect and discrimination, our children find themselves at a crisis as they try to navigate growth coupled with high levels of vulnerability in their quest to reach their potential.
Street life paints a vague picture in the minds of these children. Society in a way helps to project an image so strong in their minds thereby depriving the children of their confidence and sense of security. With a strong desire to do well in life, the children are exposed to different social cultural factors which in turn hinder their livelihood on the streets as they fight for survival in a world where only the strong make it, consequently depriving them of their self-worth.
Wema Centre, guided by the famous tag line ‘Love Never Fails’ continues to give ‘hugs’ to street children in an attempt to help them develop trust for society and take pride in their accomplishments. At Wema Centre, we understand the importance of developing the confidence of the children under our care for we strongly believe this in turn translates to hard work and better scores for our children in the classrooms and success in their lives out of Wema Centre when the time comes.
The Wema Na Fadhili Camp, which is held during school holidays, was invented in 1995 with the sole aim of addressing the psychosocial needs of the children of Wema Centre. The camp is tailor made to offer a one week intense counseling program for the Wema Centre children in a holistic setting. The camp, which was revived in 2014 by Wema Alumni, employs the help of volunteers who offer to share their expertise on various topics of discussion in relation to the camps theme.
Our first camp this year was held between 10th and 16th April 2016 at the Kenya Girl Guides camping site in Shanzu, Mombasa. The camp, whose theme was “Fruits Of The Holy spirit” borrowed from Galatians 5:22-23, was attended by 68` girls from our Bamburi Child Protection Centre, three girls from our street outreach program, five members of staff and eight volunteers who included three from Nairobi and five from Mombasa. The camp also invited three guest speakers who came to address the children on various topical issues in accordance to the camp’s theme.
Past experiences have taught us that long lectures do not really benefit our children when it comes to positively impacting knowledge in them. With this in mind, the camp was carefully designed to be child friendly with activities that kept the children yarning for more every day. Below is an outline of the camps activities.
- Morning workouts
The wake-up call was sounded at 5:30am every morning, all the children assembled in the main activity hall after running around the field. In the hall, the children were taken through different exercises daily which mainly included aerobics, cross fitness and stretches with the main aim of helping them burn calories and stay energized for the rest of the day.
- Morning devotion
Every morning the children in the company of volunteers and Wema staff, met in the activity hall for a devotion session which was led by appointed volunteers. The main aim for these sessions was to prepare the children for the day as well as encourage them to develop the discipline of reading the bible and praying daily.
- Learning Sessions
Invited speakers took the lead role during these sessions. The campers were taken through various sub-themes (Fruits of the spirit) which were aimed at helping them gain an in-depth understanding of the camps theme, ‘Fruits of the Holy Spirit’.
Pastor Robert Lundi, a youth pastor from Cross Roads fellowship graced the camp on Tuesday 12th April 2016. The pastor took the children through a very interactive session on the sub-theme, Love.
A group from The Angaza Initiative (a group of individuals who have come together with the main aim of reaching out to the less fortunate in society through the word of God) taught the children about ‘Patience’ in a very interactive session that involved lots of fun activities as well as group and individual counseling sessions.
Rev. Tom Dawa of ACK St. Pauls Kiembeni, came to the camp on Thursday 14th April, 2016. The day’s theme was gentleness which he tackled expeditiously to the amazement of most of us who expected a ‘long’ sermon. The Reverend was very engaging during his session as he made sure that the children were always attentive through the use of role play in his lesson. The children really had fun during this session, and in the end they begged the reverend to come to the next camp.
On Friday 15th April, 2016 all children were taken through a life skills session which was mainly aimed at providing a platform for them to freely air out issues concerning their lives, and also give feedback about the camp.
- Indoor/Outdoor games
The camp was designed to be child friendly and for us to truly achieve this, fun had to be a priority. The children participated in fun games and activities both at the camp site and at the beach, led by one of the volunteers, who had traveled all the way from Nairobi to participate in this life changing experience for our children. The indoor and outdoor games were mainly aimed at helping the children have fun as they continued their learning escapade.
- Free time
During this time all campers were allowed time to be free and have a quiet time where they would reflect upon what they had learnt throughout the day and meditate upon it so as to find direction on how well they can apply it in their daily life. It was during this time that individual counseling was conducted to willing children or groups.
In the spirit of promoting team work, team spirit, positive competition, boosting self-esteem, stimulating creativity and boosting confidence, the children were put in four teams that participated in fun games and activities that were carefully designed to serve this purpose. The activities which were conducted both indoors and outdoors included water balloon volley ball, circle games, singing competitions, impress the queen, newspaper fashion show and many more.
- Group presentations
This happened every evening where all the groups were supposed to come up with a presentation based on the day’s sub-theme which they would present in front of the whole group. The pieces were to be original and a panel of judges was put in place to select the most stunning performances. The judge’s panel was composed of representatives from the four groups.
- Praise and worship
We recognize and appreciate that our children love to sing for the lord. Every day, before the start of every session, different groups were charged with the responsibility of leading the praise and worship sessions under close supervision of the appointed counselor/volunteer. It was during this time that the children brought forth their prayer requests as they received spiritual nourishment.
The camp ended on Friday 15th April 2016 on a high note with a well thought out red carpet gala dinner event that involved the children walking in with their best friends and posing for a photo before proceeding to their seats. A delicious Biriani meal was served during the dinner. The Wema staff at the camp served the children diligently just to make sure they felt loved and cared for. All campers left the site on Saturday 16th April 2016.
Our next camp will be held in December this year. Be part of the fun!!