“There is no medicine that can uplift these children more than camp” Professor G. Wessels, Tygerberg Paediatric Clinic
“I find it unacceptable that there is no campsite in Camp Town that caters fully for children with disabilities, as if life isn’t tough enough for these very disadvantaged children. We must change this” Dannie Kagan, Founder and Director of Rainbow Dreams Trust
The largest of our long term organisational goals is to purchase land in Cape Town and develop a purpose built camp for children with special needs: children in wheelchairs, the blind, those needing a constant oxygen supply, burn victims, children with Cerebal Palsy – the list goes on. Those who have special needs also often suffer from poverty meaning their families and carers are unable to offer them the kind of time out and opportunity for personal growth that Camp Hope can provide. These are the very children who need Camp Hope the most.
Since the closure of Camp Faraway in Noordhoek earlier this year, there is no longer a camp in Camp Town offering disabled facilities. We are working on motivating and partnering with camp owners to get these facilities installed in an existing camp. We dream of creating our own camp, one designed with disabled children’s needs in mind.
Owning our own camp would allow us to create a permanent space specific to the work we do with children: every area accessible by wheelchair, a well designed nurse’s station, a terraced out door area for performances, a confidence course with activities design for those with limited mobility, a safe pool area (most pools do not meet the special needs of our differently abled youth), and of course magical areas of nature for exploring. For the blind we would plant a scented garden, for the mentally troubled or ill a place of peace in nature. This would be a very special camp.
Owning property would also allow the trust to generate an income by renting the camp out to other NGOs, schools and interested parties. This income would assist with the running costs of the camps and maintenance costs of the facilities. We would be able to dramatically increase the number of camps held each year.
An increase in the number of camps would mean also casting a wider net and complementing our local buddies with overseas volunteers. This would open doors for our local volunteers, many of whom come from under resourced communities and are without the means for international travel – we would instead be bringing the world to them. Then there is job creation; although we are so proud of our volunteer model at Rainbow Dreams Trust it would be very special to have the opportunity to create a small number of paid positions for dedicated and skilled youth workers, people who would give it their all to make sure the camp was everything it could be for each young camper we hosted.
A permanent Camp Hope would be a beacon to other hard working NGOs and grassroots community groups that progress can be made. We would work together with as many local youth based community groups as possible, strengthening their offering to their communities with ideally yearly camps.
Creation of such a facility is a big project, but is a worthwhile challenge which we are ready, willing and enthusiastic to take on.
There is a very real need amongst the disadvantaged youth for this facility; especially amongst the disabled, the ill and those effected by abuse and neglect. A permanent Camp Hope will offer many troubled youth respite from difficult realities in a safe, beautiful and healthy environment. The healing that can come from connection with nature and the care and attention of others is huge. With your help we can make this big dream a reality and provide this needed experience for our most challenged youth.