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Jul 26, 2012

BCVI’s summer camp; fun and education for visually impaired kids

Special needs students from primary and high schools from all corners of the jewel have been camping in Belize City. They have been attending the annual summer camp of the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired which, in addition to providing them with an outlet for fun and education, prepares them for the upcoming school year. On Tuesday the students were treated to the first live show of Be the Next Superstar; that aside, they have been learning to use the computer, the Braille machine and much more. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Fourteen year old Rowan Garel’s nine-two mile “Walk Across Belize” raised funds to make the 2012 Summer Camp by the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired possible. While the two week camp is a fun experience, it also ensures that the visually impaired participants are prepared to return to school.

 

Carla Ayres Musa

Carla Ayres Musa, Communications Officer, BCVI

“It’s the only time of year where BCVI is able to bring our children in the program from throughout the country into Belize City for two weeks. So they sleep here with their guardians, they stay here with our staff and we provide educational training, we provide assessments, we provide field trips, parties; it’s just something fun for them to do and it’s something for us to be able to see where exactly they are educationally and where they’re gonna need to be for the upcoming school year. So that’s what we’ve been up to for the past two weeks.”

 

Rowan was among the thirty primary and high school who benefitted from this year’s camp and says it was worth the hard work.

 

Rowan Garel

Rowan Garel, Participant, BCVI Summer Camp

“It’s really important to me because this summer camp, it’s not just—when you hear the word summer camp you think of rock climbing and swimming and doing other activities, but no. this summer camp is learning of skills that will be crucial for us in school such as math and even navigating a computer because now you don’t only navigate a computer for fun, in school you have to learn how to use your email and other websites.”

 

Alyssa Fisher, BCVI Camp Participant 

Alyssa Fisher

“I’ve been using the Braille machine to type my numbers and alphabets.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So you’re going to school now?”

 

Alyssa Fisher

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“And you’re ready for school? You’re excited?”

 

Alyssa Fisher

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Juan Reina

Juan Reina, Participant, BCVI Summer Camp

“I’ve been doing a lot of stuff; I’ve been doing math, reading and computer and like having a lot of fun. And plus arts and craft.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“What was your favorite thing out of all those?”

 

Juan Reina

“My favorite was math and arts and craft.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So you’re ready to go back to school after you’ve learned so much?”

 

Juan Reina

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Carla Ayres Musa

“It’s important for anyone to be ready for school but it’s extra important for the rehab officers and for the staff of BCVI to feel that our children are exactly where they need to be because there will be extra support needed for Braille, to write, to read, for math, for computers. It’s something that we feel is completely essentially with their individualized education programs that we create for each of them, to know that we’re sending them into school and they’re going to be absolutely one hundred percent ready.”

 

The Walk Across Belize raised almost fifty thousand dollars and additional donors have pushed that amount to over seventy thousand. But the BCVI’s fundraising efforts continue.

 

Carla Ayres Musa

“We’re still working toward our goal; our goal is ninety thousand, we were hoping for a thousand per mile. It costs one hundred thousand to run the rehab program for the smaller children, so that would have been our wish list. We’re not gonna stop working, we’re appealing if you want to contribute. If you see this and you’ve heard about Rowan and you haven’t been able to make a donation, we’re still accepting donations.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“And how can that be done?”

 

Carla Ayres Musa

“You can make a direct deposit top Belize Bank #71096, you can come into our office on Princess Margaret Drive and make a donation, mail it in to P.O. Box 525 if you’d like or you can go online to bcvi.org and make a donation there.”

 

The funds are not only for the summer camp; it covers several other activities as well as the purchase of costly supplies that the students need for school.

 

Carla Ayres Musa

“With additional funding, if we have available, we do a new year camp around Christmas time and an Easter camp around Easter to help keep the kids up to date with where they need to be. We also are able to buy equipment, like a brail typewriter that costs about a thousand dollars. So we were able to purchase ten of those for these children, we also got support from UNICEF to purchase some additional Braillers, their canes, their stylus and slates and cube rhythms for math. So it’s a lot more than just the summer camp; we’re also able to make trips out to their homes to provide the support that they need for orientation and counseling in their homes.”

 

Rowan says he’s already working on ideas for his next big fundraiser. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

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