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Summer camps for street kids

Jorhat, July 17: Think summer camps and the vision of children decked in their summer best having fun while learning how to dance, sing, draw and the like comes to the mind’s eye.

World Vision’s summer camps under way here are, however, different. The NGO has taken the concept of summer camps to underprivileged children living in urban slums and the outskirts of Jorhat to teach them about child rights, moral values, education and health.

Momo Ringphamchung Khartu, programme manager, Jorhat Urban ADP, World Vision, said the children were aged four to 18, mostly underprivileged, some of who worked part time, some handicapped but all of them in need of guidance where their rights are concerned.

“These children are mostly left untended the whole day when their parents go out to work. They may be admitted to schools but absenteeism is high among them as there is no one to monitor what they do for the whole day,” he said.

Khartu said at an age when their more privileged peers were enjoying themselves in summer camps with their parents paying a fee for them to attend lessons where they learnt all sorts of things like table manners, being polite, acting, dancing, singing , drawing and even how to walk the ramp, these children are being taught that working to earn a living or to contribute to the family income is a violation of their rights and illegal.

“The children here are also taught these things through song and activities written in a book. Suppose we want to tell them about child labour, the teacher who is a volunteer from the community and has been oriented by us, gives them an example and they are asked to draw it as they best understand it. Likewise, they are taught songs which tell of the love of their parents and that they should also love their parents in return,” Khartu said.

Under the programme named Life School for Transformational Development 2014, the objective of the camps is to teach them moral values, explore some realities of life and discover some beautiful life truths.

Khartu said in the six camps being held at New Tocklai, Bishnupur, Koldanga, Fancy Ali, Digambar Suk, Sotar Kumar and Puja Dubi, the children were being taught about health and hygiene, the importance of being educated and also not to steal, tell lies and commit other crimes.

“The topics are My Rights, My Health, My Leaders,, learn, Live and Lead. If I am OK, You are OK,” Khartu said.

Each camp has been divided into four groups — pearl, ruby, diamond and emerald — and each group has children belonging to different classes right upto Class XII.

In the next few days, camps will be held at Royal Road, Bansbari, Bishnupur, Ramdhari, Bijoynagar, Kabarstan Road, Baghdhora, Nomuna, and Anand Nagar.