Empowerment in Action: Summer Camp 2023 Highlights

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From August 5th-12th Under The Same Sun in partnership with Villages of Hope Tanzania, hosted our fourth Summer Camp for students with albinism. I am thrilled to share some highlights of the amazing time that was had:

240 Students and Alumni in attendance:
We welcomed 240 of our incredible students and alumni to this year’s Summer Camp. Not only was it our largest camp to date, but I would argue that it was also the most fun camp we’ve ever had!

Most, if not all, of our students have faced hardships due to their albinism – they have faced attacks, discrimination, bullying, or abandonment. Summer Camp provides a safe space where they can truly feel loved, cared for, and supported while having fun, building community and learning new things.

An Electric Opening Ceremony: The energy during the opening ceremony was electric. You could feel the excitement in the air as music played, singing and laughing filled the room, and dancing broke out. After a short welcome message and a march around the campground, Summer Camp 2023 was officially on. Our students are all in boarding schools and universities or colleges around the country, so they don’t often get to connect and see each other – for some this was their first time meeting, for others, this was a long awaited reunion!

Empowering Classes For All Ages:
Throughout the week, our campers were engaged in an array of enriching classes, including Music, Art, Karate, Life Skills, Bible, and even Careers. Each class was specifically designed to empower, encourage, and equip our students with albinism to become their own best advocates – not just for themselves, but for the broader community of people with albinism. 

To accommodate the wide range of ages, campers were put into different tracks so that their classes were more relevant and specific to their needs. Our older students, for example, had a “Life Skills” class where they learned about budgeting, digital literacy, and relationships.

Comprehensive Health Support:
As you may know, people with albinism face unique health challenges – primarily to do with low-vision and protecting themselves from getting skin cancer. Each camper was seen by a low-vision specialist and received the necessary low-vision aids to help them thrive in their everyday lives – this included new prescriptions for those that needed it, clip on lenses, and monoculars. We also conducted hearing tests and thorough skin cancer screenings. Each student also received a new wide brim hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and two long-sleeve shirts to help protect them from the sun. A huge thank you to all of our specialists and partners who provided such great care for our students.

For some students, specialty devices were provided for their unique circumstances. Pictured above, one of our older students studying medicine is seen learning how to use a new magnifying device that will help with his studies.

A Fun Week to Remember:
On top of the scheduled classes, we also had chapel every day to connect as a large group, and the campers even organized a talent show, football (soccer) games, and netball matches. The energy, laughter, and joy that filled the campgrounds were palpable. The friendships formed, lessons learned, and memories created will stay with our campers for a long time to come.

As we wrap up this unforgettable experience, I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU for being a part of our supportive community. Whether you contributed financially, sent us your thoughts and prayers, or shared our updates during camp, your support means the world to us! We are still accepting contributions to help cover the costs associated with this camp. If you’re able, please consider making a gift towards the costs of this year’s summer camp. You can make a gift by clicking here.

If you would like to see more photos of summer camp, you can find them on our Facebook & Instagram accounts.

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