GOAL: To provide opportunities for children to receive psychosocial support and life skills training to grow up and become young leaders in their schools and communities.
DESCRIPTION: Between 150-200 children are divided into two groups by age and attend an annual five-day Help Lesotho Leadership Camp. They enjoy meaningful learning opportunities, receive nutritious meals and snacks, make new friends and have fun in a safe place. Trained Help Lesotho youth and staff run the activities as examples of local role models in leadership roles.
TARGET AUDIENCE: Children in partner schools in Standard 7 to Form E who are either sponsored or chosen by their school for their leadership potential.
RATIONALE: Children have limited or no support structures in Lesotho. Without strong role models, they struggle to find their way out of poverty, illness and isolation. The legacy of the AIDS pandemic is a massive cohort of orphans and vulnerable children in need of support. Leadership Camp is designed to give children a safe place to learn, deal with the trauma they have experienced, ask questions, build self-esteem, overcome their barriers to growth, have fun, and develop into strong leaders.
CORE ACTIVITIES: Camp days are carefully structured to help children learn practical, age-appropriate, locally-relevant strategies to make healthy decisions:
- Mornings: educational programs/training focus on grief and loss, peer pressure, communication, goal setting, HIV/AIDS, risky behaviour and gender equity;
- Afternoons: Fun activities such as games and crafts that reiterate important themes from morning sessions;
- Evenings: talent shows feature the children in dramas, dancing and singing.
Partner organizations offer voluntary HIV testing and counseling opportunities along with discussions of the importance of knowing ones status and options for dealing with HIV/AIDS.
APPROACH: Camp is an opportunity for students to escape the pressures and challenges they face at home in order for them to learn, reflect and open their minds to new ideas and opportunities. A fundamental component of Camp is programming delivered with kindness and respect for children. Creating a healthy environment gives children the opportunity for meaningful multi-day support and promotes youth leadership and community responsibility. The reiterative nature of the program allows information to be absorbed and understand throughout the duration of Camp. When children return for a second, third or even forth camp they learn new skills to build upon the knowledge gained at previous camps. All participants are expected to share what they learn with their schools and families when they return home to their communities.
IMPACT: Camp is a life-transforming experience for the children. Attending Camp is considered a privilege. Participants come to their first camp as shy, nervous and curious students and leave as knowledgeable, motivated, and confident young leaders. Camp inspires children to overcome challenges and make a difference in their communities. More than 1500 students have participated in Camp, many attending several years in a row. The impact of the camp is multiplied in all those with whom campers share the information.
You can change a child’s life by sending them to Leadership Camp for only $80 – donate now!