Summer Camp ! This is the first time that many street youth in Guinea have had the chance to participate in a summer program. These are children that live on the streets and/or deal with difficult issues in their families that prevent them from experiencing safe, ordinary childhoods.
When 50 children came to the first day of summer camp, we heard some say, “I feel like an ordinary kid now”.
For this particular program, MindLeaps teamed up with Hope of Guinea, a not-for-profit organization working to increase access to education. MindLeaps recruited 20 street children to join Hope of Guinea’s 30 in-school children for a joint summer program. The children are between the ages of 9 and 15 years, and there are more girls than boys.
A key component of the preparation was the sensitization of the parents. As MindLeaps’ Country Director, I met the parents at a particular site where many vulnerable families live in our capital city of Conakry.
All the participating children and their families expressed their satisfaction and discussed their hope that this summer program would be fully realized – followed by more events with MindLeaps and Hope of Guinea.
It was my part to reassure them that this is just a strong beginning because it is the objective of MindLeaps to permanently exit these children from life on the street. We are all in a hurry to see their future improves quickly.
At the end of our community meeting, the parents declared that they know that their children will find themselves in good hands this summer. One parent said, “At least this time, I know my child is well-protected. I have the same wish that this will hold true for all summers to come”.
Ansoumane Conde is the Country Director of MindLeaps Guinea.