Edmund Rice Camps are run all over the world, aimed at giving vulnerable children a chance to “just be kids”. The Edmund Rice Karibu Camp in Nairobi works with different schools in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum. The students are welcomed to a one-day camp for games, meals and moral education. These simple pleasures are not available for most children in Kibera due to the high level of poverty. They often have just one meal a day, if that, and have no safe places to really play with one another. These conditions can of course lead them to get involved in destructive activities and that is why the Edmund Rice Camps came into existence here.
It is very moving to see the children forgetting the challenges they face when they are allowed to freely mix and enjoy life together in games and competitions. It is amazing to witness the joy and happiness they display when they are shown that they are all equal, unique and respected within the group.
But the Camps are not only about playing. In order to boost self-esteem the children are encouraged to speak out about the challenges they face both at home and at school. They are motivated by the example of the team leaders, all of whom have gone on to higher levels of studies, proving to the children that they can achieve anything they set out to do
In our world today we seek justice – a mammoth task for those who have facts on the ground. In Kenya there are a myriad injustices facing people: unemployment, corruption, illiteracy, poor governance, poverty, unequal distribution of resources – to mention but a few. All these lead to a sense of hopelessness.