At the Hope Shines summer camp, campers complete arts and crafts activities, practice dance routines, and play games. They get to know the other campers and camp mentors and laugh and build community with one another. They share meals, encourage each other, and gain confidence. All of this sounds like a typical summer camp, but the Hope Shines summer camp is so much more.
Every summer, 36 Rwandan kids come together for a special fun-filled week where “imagination meets education.” In addition to the standard camp fare of games and crafts, the kids learn through an ever-changing curriculum that includes everything from Engineering to Global Geography to English speaking. And it always includes a strong focus on health and hygiene.
Dan Gladden, Hope Shines’ Executive Director, explains what the health and hygiene curriculum entails, “This year’s curriculum includes oral hygiene, fluoride treatments, annual health checks by a doctor, a science and engineering curriculum, first-aid, a self-esteem workshop, malaria prevention, and HIV/AIDS prevention.” The children also receive nutritionally-fortified meals and clean water to drink throughout the camp. For the camp participants, whose families live on an average of $17 per month, access to healthy food and clean water is paramount. It helps relieve the financial burden on their families and of course, improves their health.
One way Hope Shines provides healthy meals is through their sustainable greenhouse project. Once crops are harvested from the greenhouse, they not only go toward the camps’ meals, but they are also sold to provide sustainable revenue. The See Beautiful Milestone Grant funding will help sustain the greenhouse project and will also offset the major cost of running the camp - transportation to and from the camp.
Although the grant funding will support the summer camp operations, Hope Shines stays busy year round with their various programs. They provide basic needs for education, such as uniforms and school supplies and run an after-school program to keep students engaged and learning when they are not in school. And the focus on healthy children serves as a tenant of Hope Shines, empowering young people to understand and respect their bodies.
With values like healthy living, integrity, sustainability, commitment to children, and expanding impact, it’s safe to say that Hope Shines creates beautiful in the lives of the children and families they serve. And See Beautiful stands behind them every step of the way.
Jannan Poppen, Giving Coordinator
See beautiful in yourself.