Every year, Rays of Hope hosts fun and educational camps for students who are part of our Rose-Act Saturday School and Ithemba Labantwana programmes, giving the children the chance to get out of Alex for a few days to learn, explore and have fun in a new environment.  

Rose-Act camp 

This year’s Rose-Act camp took place in Magaliesberg with 100 students taking part in the experience. Centred on the theme, Good Samaritan, students were encouraged to learn more about giving back to their communities and to take an interest in helping others.  

With September being heritage month in South Africa, it was fitting that the students were also exposed to new and different cultures and traditions. The students dressed up in their own traditional clothing and took part in a dance competition that allowed them to learn about each other’s unique cultural clothing, food, dance and music – the most notable of which was braaiing chicken feet for dinner! 

Another fun activity that the students did was bridge-jumping – a frightening prospect for many of them. Some dove straight in and conquered their fears on day one, while others had to work up the nerve to try the jump the following day, and were so proud of themselves for having faced their fears. 

Girls and Boys Support Groups and Life Skills Camp 

As part of the Ithemba Labantwana project, Rays of Hope runs a girls and a boys support group to provide emotional support to young people living in Alexandra, while helping them navigate and manage any difficult issues they may face. These youth support groups serve over 90 youths ranging from the ages of 11 to 19, offering them a place to feel safe and just be kids.  

Many have experienced unbelievable hardship and difficulty in their young lives, having witnessed and fallen victim to violence, trauma and abuse. There are also young people who have been left orphaned and with the burden of caring for their younger siblings or elderly relatives. All of these young people are in desperate need of care and guidance. 

The four-day life skills camp, which took place in Rustenburg in September, was not only incredibly helpful in teaching them how to cope with their circumstances, but also gave them the opportunity to take their minds off their troubles for a few days. They played, swam, abseiled, took part in fun activities like obstacle courses and, in the process, learned that they were capable of and destined for more than they might believe.  

From a life skills point of view, the camp explores topics chosen by the boys and girls, such as building self-confidence, understanding the consequences of various realities – peer pressure, crime and drugs – and developing a positive attitude towards learning and education.