Hainan summer camp to support orphans and children

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This month, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) are launching a new approach to help orphans and children in especially difficult conditions develop to their fullest potential.

The "Wings of Hainan Airlines Caring for Children Summer Camp" will bring children in need of special protection to southern China's Hainan Province for a range of therapeutic activities and training opportunities.

The camp is the first such effort to be developed and organized by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and UNICEF as part of their joint national child protection programme.

MCA and UNICEF have been collaborating on child protection work since 1982. Funds for the camp have been made possible through a donation from Hainan Airlines (HNA) Group to UNICEF.

"For the first time we will bring children in need of special protection to a wonderful setting, where they can learn crucial life skills, have rest and recreation and benefit from a range of participatory games and activities designed to help them develop and flourish," said Kirsten Di Martino, Chief of Child Protection for UNICEF China.

A total of 41 children between the ages of 7 and 16 years old will travel to the camp from 8 provinces: Sichuan, Qinghai, Henan, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Shanxi, Yunnan and Tianjin. Included in the group are children who lost parents in the May 2008 Sichuan and April 2010 Qinghai earthquakes, children who have been abandoned, children with disabilities, street children and children with parents serving prison sentences. Among them are children from the Han, Tibetan and Dai ethnic groups. The children will be accompanied by 19 chaperones and caregivers.

China's foremost experts on child protection, participation and development will serve as resource persons and facilitators of the various activities planned. Through their participation in the summer camp, children will learn crucial life skills including self esteem, communication, problem solving, stress management and teamwork. They will also be taught about the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specially guarantees the rights of children in need of special protection.

The camp, which aims to promote the full, independent and active participation of children in society, will also provide extensive opportunities for the children to take part in social activities, as well as dramatic and visual arts programmes.

"In recent years, top leaders of the central Government of China have visited orphans living in child welfare institutions and advised on their development issues," said Lu Ying, Director-General of the Social Welfare and Charity Promotion Department of China's Ministry of Civil Affairs at the opening ceremony of the summer camp.

 "Agreement has been reached by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Finance to strengthen efforts in protecting the welfare of orphans and minors without care." Lu Ying also extended appreciation to the public support provided to the protection of orphans and other children living in especially difficult conditions.

The Caring for Children Summer Camp will run from 20–26 August and will be held in Xinglong City, Hainan Province.

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