For many, Christmas is a special time for all, but none more than children. At this time of year, many children will be putting the finishing touches on their letters to Santa, with the things they want, but for some children, they only have one wish, the wish to belong, to play and to be just that, children.
A child who is blind or visually impaired experiences growing up with day-to-day challenges, which means that their social skills, confidence and abilities to feel included in school, play and everyday life can be diminished. As you know, Vision Ireland’s main goal is to level the playing field for people who are blind and visually impaired so they can recognise their full potential. This includes the children in our community.
Set up in 2009, CampAbilities is an educational and developmental sports camp program for children and teens who are blind and visually impaired. For many children, this is the only opportunity to meet with others who also have a vision impairment because none of these children would have someone in their class or even in their school with a similar condition.
Jorge, who is now 11, is visually impaired and was struggling with isolation and not living the life a young child should, carefree! Worried, Jorge’s Mum reached out to Vision Ireland for support and that was when Jorge was introduced to CampAbilities. After attending 1 week of CampAbilities; she said “Jorge was wearing his sunglasses or using a magnifier with ease around everyone, unlike when he is in school or in his day to day life – the camp gave a feeling of “I am not alone in this”‘ Jorges mum has seen a huge increase in Jorge’s confidence; he has made friends, learned to play sports as part of a team, and, most importantly, has gained the confidence his Mum could only dream he would in order to pursue his dream of singing and performing.
CampAbilites is run by donations; money must be raised yearly to keep this life-changing experience available for children like Jorge all around Ireland. By supporting Vision Ireland’s Christmas campaign, you will be bringing a light into these children’s lives.