What happens at the summer Camp for the visually impaired? Lot more than what happens in the usual summer camp!!
As soon as children finish their exams, their parents are eager to send them to various summer camps to make use of their free time effectively as well as to get them occupied with something useful.
Vividha wanted to give the same experience to children with visual impairment. It is even more important for VI children to attend summer camps mainly because there are a lot of things sighted children learn incidentally which are missed out by VI children and summer camps can be a great opportunity to get exposure and learn these skills.
Typical children have various sources to gain information visually. Example : a sighted child would have seen a lot of animals around, on TV, in movies, in the neighbourhood, in pictures in the books, in the posters and hoardings, etc. So it is very easy for the child to imagine or relate to when stories are told about animals. But the same exposure gets missed out for children with visual impairment. Vividha tried to fill in this gap through various experiences at the Summer Camp, this May 2015.
Science is all about arousing the curiosity of the little child and letting the child to figure out things for himself. We learn so much about say, Gardening not when we hear about it, but when we do it ourselves. What does digging the earth mean? How can one do that? How is sowing the seeds done? So must you always grow plants from the seeds? How are plants grown in the pots? Endless questions. Some were answered on the day 1 gardening session.
“When I am tired and thirsty, my mother gives me fruit juice, aunty”. Does the juice magically come from the kitchen? No way! Children learnt how to peel the mango, squeeze the juice out , mix various ingredients and make yummy aam panna.
Oh, what about these ingredients. Where did they come from? Children were taken shopping to explore the store, to experience the responsibility of handling money, buy some vegetables, make the transaction at the billing section themselves. That’s not all. They ‘grated’ the carrots and cucumbers, ‘chopped’ onions and tomatoes, added ‘pinch’es of salts , squeezed out lemonjuice and made churmuri and gave some to their parents to taste too. Now, that’s the step towards making them independent.
Now, the never before experience! Children go to the zoo to “see” the animals in the cage. Our children went one step ahead and held the eggs of ostriches, emus, crocodiles in hand, felt the texture of a snake’s skin and sharpness of a porcupine’s pine, held a live tortoise and touched a rabbit! Now, isn’t that an experience of a lifetime?
After the zoo experience, it was time to familiarize with domestic animals. But now through some acting skills. Children wore tactile masks and enacted the role of few domestic animals, imitating their sounds. They held hands and took a walk to look at some birds, collected their feathers and listened to their quacks and chirps.
All the children who attended the camp went to regular schools with sighted peers. This was an opportunity for them to socialize with other children who are visually impaired, who also used canes, who also read Braille, and to play with them the tic-tac-toe and the snakes and ladders games, the accessible way!