For many children, summertime means a break from normal lessons, and it's no different at Lighthouse Relief. Starting Saturday, the children of Ritsona camp have been getting active and creative through a series of fun-filled yet structured activities at the Child Friendly Space.
"We created a series of psychosocial support activities where children could learn different life skills through structured play and learning activities," CFS supervisor Sofia says.
Whether it's through song, play, or arts and crafts, the children are learning important lessons to remain safe, strong and healthy in the refugee camp setting. "With these activities, they will know who to turn to if they need help, and learn about health risks and dangers in camp, as well as their own rights as children," Sofia says.
The children have been grouped by age, with activities ranging from learning the alphabet to singing, play that develops motor skills, sport and dance. Approximately 60 to 90 of the kids from camp are coming everyday.
The activities are taking place in the CFS, which provides educational and psychosocial support to children to enable them to have more stability. It's also where vulnerable cases can be identified and referred to relevant agencies for additional support.
The camp is doubling as an opportunity for staff to get feedback directly from the children on how they can further strengthen regular CFS sessions. "We wanted to have their participation for our upcoming programme in the CFS, to listen to the kids and ask them what they would like to learn," Sofia says. "We want them to feel like they have a part in the activities."
Finally, the summer camp also enables the children to take a break and relax. "It's a chance for the kids to be kids and regain a sense of normality in their lives," she says.
The younger children are learning their alphabet, singing songs, focusing their creative energy on composing a bright and vibrant paper-craft garden, and making everything they can imagine with Lego.
Meanwhile the children in the group comprising eight- to 12-year-olds are getting active with lots of sport, song, dance and games. They are playing football in a field near camp and learning about team-building with the help of a colourful parachute.
What better way to relax than with a session of yoga? The children learned some key basic poses as well as how to stretch as part of a series of activities that the CFS has planned for the summer camp.
Not only did the children get to relax with some play, they learned about how to engage with the group and cooperate.
The structured play has also allowed the adults to learn. Staff and volunteers at the CFS are taking the opportunity of the summer camp to become even more in touch with the activities that help and engage the children the most, so they can incorporate it into their regular programme.
The summer camp, and all Lighthouse Relief activities, would not be successful without you. Consider making a donation so that we can keep supporting the residents at refugee camps around Greece.