The ‘15th Integrated Fun Camp’ for children with visual impairment was organized by LVPEI’s Dr PRK Prasad Centre for Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired on December 1, 2012. The 325 participants included visually challenged clients, sighted siblings and family members. Krishna Kanth Park is just 3 kilometers from LVPEI’s main campus. The staff and volunteers arrived in a mini-bus with footballs, ropes and gifts. Once everyone had been issued identity tags, the group moved to the activities area. Mahalakshmi began by telling everyone that this was the 15th Fun Camp! The program was kick-started with a torch relay. Adult rehab clients, picked randomly to carry the flame, were helped by the staff to carry the flame all around the park. Starting with Guru and Sai Sudha, the torch was passed from client to client until it reached Raju and Ruby. Everyone enjoyed it.
After this, the races began: 20 members of the staff held one end of the rope each, standing side by side to make 5 runways. Each rope length had a hoop around it, so that a blind child could hold on to it and run the length of the rope. This was hard work for the staff pulling the rope. Many complaints of rope burns could be heard from the staff in the minutes preceding the races, but when the race started, the staff suddenly forgot all this and became competitive, urging the child running their relay to win. This was an under-13 race for blind and low vision children. Many parents said it was great to see their kids winning the races!
We then moved on to the frog race for the low vision and blind children and their siblings. Amusingly, some children chose to not jump like frogs, but the moral victory was theirs. The audience said it was “excellent to watch”. A short cupcake break was needed for everyone to regain their strength, before resuming their fun activities. The object identification game for multi-handicapped children was tricky, but most of them managed to identify all the objects. Ahad, a patient in child-rehab, made us all laugh by identifying a tooth brush by picking it up and brushing his teeth and then choosing the comb to style his hair. He definitely made his father very proud.
Then the tug of war began for both children and adults. The first group was children with multiple disabilities. Ravindra, a staff member, said, “They showed surprising strength”. The most competitive game was between low vision and blind young adults who pulled the rope all the way across the field before one team finally won.
We finished our first half of the day with a series of games for the siblings. Pond and Land was competitive and ended finally when the girl jumped into a pond when land was called. Lunch was vegetable biryani with egg plant curry, curd rice, pickle and raita. It was delicious; many went back for seconds and even thirds. During lunch all the parents and children sat in a big circle - this was great to get to know each other and talk about their similar circumstances.
Balloon blowing and breaking set the second half of the day off with a bang. The young adults with low vision or totally blind had 2 minutes to blow and pop as many balloons as they could, with the winner successfully popping 12 balloons in total. The winner of the adult’s game popped 8 balloons; one of the kids said that this meant the kids were better than adults.
Prof Sai Prakash, principal of the Bausch and Lomb School of Optometry said how lovely it was to come and enjoy the day with clients. He said it was great for all the hard-working parents and care-givers, as well as the children. He watched with great joy as the word game and group relay were done. He especially liked the sack race for low vision, under-13 children. It looked quite difficult but the kids finished it amazingly fast. The last one was the parents’ race. Akhila Ravi, a volunteer, said it was great to see so many parents get involved in the race. The women did a lemon and spoon race and the men completed the needle and thread race nearly running down Maha Lakshmi, luckily she dived out the way, to everyone’s amusement. The day ended with gifts being given to every child. A large amount of sweets and ice cream calmed everyone’s excitement.
The day was a real success. It was great for everyone: the parents used it as an opportunity to meet other parents, the staff had a great time hosting all the fun and games and, most importantly, the kids really enjoyed themselves.
[The author, Ruby Packham-Dale from United Kingdom, was a volunteer at the 15th Integrated Fun Camp]
|Adaptive games - Running single|
|Children sitting before the games|
|Samantha blowing balloons!|
|Tug of War|