As part of the Mental Health program in Togo, several off-ship projects were run including a five-day camp for orphans and abused children. Thirty-one children aged 9 to 15 enjoyed a carefree week at the campus of L’Institution Privee La Prosperite, a Christian school near Lome. All of the children who participated in the camp are either orphaned, abused, or from single-parent homes.
Working with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity, the children were placed into four groups, with a team of supervisors for every group. Each day the children had two learning sessions as well as songs, games and stories.
The goal was to help these traumatized children deal with their lives. Many of the games were designed for young children, but this allowed the teenagers a chance to enjoy being a child. They all seemed to thrive on the loving attention they were getting. According to Dr. Westman the supervisor, the teenagers gladly entered into the spirit of the games.
Each participant was allowed to tell the story of their life, which helped them to process and deal with what they have experienced. The campers were taught how to protect themselves from abuse and how to set boundaries in their own lives.
Before the camp began, a day of training was held to give an overview of the program to parents, teachers and caregivers.