Sunshine Association | Kwalata Adventure Centre, Dinokeng Game Reserve
In yet another first for Just Footprints Foundation, 50 siblings of children with special needs enjoyed a 4-day camp at the Kwalata Adventure Centre in Dinokeng. Although camps have previously been held for siblings of children living with cancer related illness or life threatening blood disorders, this was the first time that the siblings of special needs’ children had been catered for. Children who are members of special needs families face unique challenges and become aware from a very young age that they need to take extra care of and responsibility for their special needs’ sibling. This has a profound impact on all aspects of their childhood and Just Footprints felt that these siblings needed a treat and a respite from these responsibilities.
The camp was a colourful and ‘arty’ affair, with sponsorship from the National Lotteries Commission via the Hope Trust. The theme of South African arts and culture provided lots of scope for creativity with different food (including mopani worms!), dress, music, games, dancing, drumming and singing. These were in addition to the Camp Footprints usual activities of game drives in Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve, sport, swimming and water games. The Hammanskraal Field Band spent a morning with the campers teaching them how to drum, play a marimba and blow a trombone.
The special needs children, whose siblings enjoyed such fun at Camp Footprints, attend the three Sunshine Association early intervention centres in Craighall Park, Eldorado Park and Elsburg. These centres offer specialised stimulation and early intervention programmes catering specifically to the needs of children with developmental delays and intellectual/physical disabilities.