Each year, the Childrens' Department organise a 5 day residential camp for approximately 70 children. The purpose is to bring children together from different communities where UWCM work and to allow them to make new friends and share experiences, to have time for fellowship & Bible study and receive teaching on topics such as Bereavement & Loss; Nutrition; Basic Healthcare, Self Esteem and Childrens' Rights and Responsibilities. The majority of the children have lost one, or both, parents and are often main carers within families, so this is a time for them to simply be children and to have fun.
Robert Mangaga, Child Programs Officer, is the main organiser of the conferences which are held at local schools/colleges with boarding facilities and generally take place during the 2nd week of January each year.
Concern UK funds the annual conference and a small team from the UK go
out to help with the teaching and to organise various craft
activities including tie-dye T Shirts, painting and other crafts which the
children really enjoy.
Local Scripture Union staff lead
Bible studies and teaching on the following topics: Family relationships; Decision
Making; Exploring the myths and truths about HIV/AIDS; Rights &
Responsibilities of Children; Self-Esteem.
They use drama, role play, debates
and singing to teach these subjects and the feedback from the children is
always very positive.
The majority of
children who attend the camp have lost one or both parents. Bridget Withell,
UCUK Trustee, leads the session on Loss & Bereavement and uses analogies
such as the River of Life or the Tree of Life to explore various aspects of
loss and bereavement and to encourage the children to share their stories.
The children also receive 3 good meals a day which is a treat in itself as the majority of the children would normally eat much more simply and so the food is always greatly appreciated and enjoyed.
The ladies work really hard in the kitchen to produce plenty of food and snacks for the children.
On the last day each child is given a gift such as a pair of new bedsheets, together with 12 exercise books which they have to provide each term for their schooling and these are always very gratefully received.
A letter of appreciation written by one of the young people from the conference: On behalf of all the children in the conference,
I want to take this opportunity to thank all our friends from Uganda Concern UK
and Organization of UWCM for organizing such a wonderful conference. We thank
all the members of UWCM who were together with us and what you did with us. May
the almighty God bless you and add our grand mum Edith Wakumire and Aunt
Bridget Neboshe and her members, that thank you so very much. And also we thank
Uncle Robert (SU) and Uncle Robert (UWCM) for all your advice to us. And also
we thank all uncles and aunts whom we were staying with, we also thank our
cooks for the good loving hearts that we were having good meals. Thank you all
and may God reward you. Bless! Emma