“I am, You are, We are South Africa!” That was the theme for the 1st Ubomi Wintercamp sponsored by the Cape Times Fresh Air Camp. Over 100 disadvantaged youth from different communities of the environments of Cape Town experienced activities around Art, Dance, Nature & Handball over the weekend of 26th to 28th of July at the Campsite in Simon’s Town.
The Cape Times Fresh Air Camp celebrated its 100 years anniversary and, for this reason, invited the children of Ubomi children houses to celebrate with them. Over 100 children and 25 facilitators were invited to spend a weekend at their campsite in Simon’s Town. For the 1st Winter Camp initiated by Ubomi, the organisation invited its partner organisation to come on board with children of their programmes and with activities to collaborate and co-create together a unique and memorable experience for the children.
“We were very happy to get involved, because there are not a lot of opportunities for the children in disadvantaged areas of such nature. Hence we invited, from our side, two teams of our community partner organisations to take part in it.”, explains Nicola Scholl (Director of Play Handball) the realization of this joint project.
Finally, there were five different youth development organisations collaborating and working together to pull off this weekend camp. Butterfly Art Project, Africa Jam Youth Outreach, Learning in Reach, Ubomi and Play Handball worked together for 2 months to the final weekend. Simphiwe Mahlanyana (Project Co-ordinator of Play Handball) took over the role as the Co-ordinator for the Camp.
The camp started on Friday afternoon with a welcome ceremony. The youth were divided in new mixed groups consisting of children from the different organisations. 10 teams were created who eventually had team identities including a team name, flag and team chant or dance.
After an exciting night, with less sleep, the team activities started on Saturday morning. Every team had 1.5 hr time at a session facilitated by one of the organisations.
Butterfly Art Project facilitated a visual art workshop. Children expressed their feelings about coming to the camp in an abstract painting and finally combined all individual painting in one big masterpiece.
UBOMI divided their sessions into two – one a dance and one a music station. Their facilitators introduced the children into different dancing styles from traditional to hip-hop and developed with the teams a combined performance.
At the music station the children practiced to sing together “We are the children…” that they presented to all facilitators at Sunday’s exhibition.
Play Handball taught the children not only to play handball, but also the principles of fair play and team spirit.
One session was a beach walk to view penguins. Some saw penguins for the first time, while others were at the beach for the very first time.
“It was an exciting and memorable weekend for the children. Everyone had fun, enjoyed themselves, made new friends and learned new things”, is the final feedback of the camp co-ordinator – Sim.
The Ubomi children houses in Khayelitsha and Gugulethu are homely places and safe islands in the middle of the townships. Neglected and orphaned children receive food, care, recreational activities, a sanctuary and support in many ways. To bring more recreational activities to the children and build the capacities of their facilitators who are recruited from the communities, Ubomi collaborates with other organisations. Play Handball is happy to be one of them. Play Handball’s mission is to help Ubomi to implement handball activities for the vulnerable children not only in the houses, but as well support the development of outreach programmes within the communities.