Institutionalization typically results in children growing up in insular environments where they rarely get to experience the unfamiliar. When they leave the shelter, they struggle to cope with the range of new challenges and experiences that inevitably come their way, and for many this can cripple their self-belief and thus longer term outcomes. Dreaming about the future is also often missing from children who live with emotional traumas, and without markers for the future, there is little motivation to invest in activities like schooling that have longer term returns. Dream Camps aim to address that sense of hopelessness and lack of self-belief by helping children build and connect with their dreams, gain confidence through action and exposure to new experiences in a supportive and safe environment, and for a few days, to be free from the confines of the shelters they grow up in.
Dream Camps are a 2-3 day experiential camp that primarily focuses on helping children build and connect with their dreams through a process of self growth and transformation via a tried and tested methodology called the ‘arc of transformation’ which involves four group plenaries. Around these sessions, children also build self-confidence through exposure to new people, ideas and experiences that are deliberately designed to expand their horizons within a safe space. Finally we ensure that Dream camps also act as a recreation space for the child, providing an essential break from the stresses of institutionalization.
Our focus for 2016 onwards is to work on seamlessly integrating Dream Camps with the rest of the programmes to maximize impact. We will be building precursor activities that prepare children to get the most out of their Dream Camp, and follow up activities that help them take their reflections and learning forward. Also we aim to track and connect the dreams and aspirations that children define during the Camp to help customize the support we provide in their ongoing classes, including focusing on specific subjects and pursuing related streams in college, apprenticeship or work.