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As the Covid-19 pandemic has restricted socialisation, those with compromised immune systems due to ongoing medical treatments are all but secluded to their homes.
The Smile Initiative, part of the Bahrain Future Society for Youth (BFSY), has been bringing cheer and comfort to children with cancer and their parents, with ongoing activities and a recently launched summer camp.
Mohamed El Sokary, board member of BFSY, and supervisor of the “Smile” summer training camp, stressed the importance of this programme in developing the talents of sick children and inspiring them to innovate according to educational basics that help the child to practice his favourite hobbies and talents.
The remote summer camp is being conducted for the next month, every week from Sunday to Thursday for an hour per day. It includes fun workshops on drawing, colouring and other kids’ activities as well as a slew of educational sessions.
The camp is being run by the society’s volunteers via Zoom to keep children’s minds and bodies engaged, even if they are stuck at home due to their weakened immunity systems.
Mohamed added: “There is a remarkable and growing interaction by participants of this programme, and the initiative is keen to develop its tools and methods continuously to adapt to remote education and training, and to capture children’s attention.
“The psychological support is an essential criterion for the necessary care for children with cancer. We must understand that childhood cancer is not only a physical disease, but a psychological disease as well. Therefore, helping children to strengthen their psychological aspect is necessary, as this reflects on their immunity and their ability to fight disease and recover, God willing, and that’s what our programme strives to do.”
This summer camp is the latest in a series of campaigns run by the organisation since the onset of the pandemic. The volunteers have been spreading awareness amongst parents on the lbest measures to maximise protection for their children, especially those who need special and permanent care.
While social activities have been suspended for the time being, the organisation’s new headquarters are open to receive children individually to ensure that they continue to receive psychosocial services during these critical times.
The organisation told GulfWeekly: “In April and May, we distributed coronavirus protection kits to sick children and their families, which included masks, gloves and sterilisers. Our volunteers delivered these to homes across the kingdom, after sterilising the kits, and advised parents on their correct use.”
The volunteers also distributed gifts at the start of the summer, to encourage children to continue staying at home and following precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.