Aug 4, 2009, 6:51 AM
Colonie de Vacances (COLOVAC) organised and supported by Compagnie Sucriere Senegalaise (CSS) yesterday ended a two-week holiday camp in The Gambia held at the Bijilo Hotel.
According to the organizers, the aim of the camping was to move children from the home setting to where they can learn and share issues of paramount importance to their lives in a form of competition on aspects of moral, academic, sporting and social life.
In an interview with The Point at the ceremony, Djiby Guisse, director of the camp, spoke at length on the importance of the holiday camping.
The holiday camp was designed to bring together children of ages 7 to 17 at a place where they can learn and share traditional and cultural values.
“This year’s camping, we have 59 children and these are people whose parents are working with Compagnie Sucriere Senegalaise, a sugar company in Senegal, and the camping is being supported by the company,” Mr Guisse said.
This year camping is called COLOVAC CSS 2012 GAMBIE and for the fact that the two countries share everything in common, it was important for them (Senegalaise) to come to The Gambia to expose the children to some of the rich cultures and traditions that portray the peace and tranquility of the smiling coast of Africa, he said.
According to Mr Guisse, this is not the first time they have held holiday camp in The Gambia. Previous ones as much as this have been successfully held and fruitful, he said, noting that special activities are being designed by the organizers for the children to undertake during camping, which include teaching children on morals, tradition and culture and how to be tolerant to each other as future leaders.
Mr Guisse further revealed that at some other camping sites, the children are taught and sensitised on child rights, child abuse, child labour, sexual harassment, and corporal punishment.
Sporting and artistic activities, such as volleyball matches, basketball matches, singing and dancing and even drama presentations, are organised for them to help in keeping them fit for academic purposes.
The children are abreast of all issues surrounding them and the steps they need to follow in the event they are confronted with such problems at school, home and even public places, said Mr Guisse.
For his part, Saidina Corr, Guisse’s Gambian counterpart, said: “This is a very good initiative from the Senegalaise sugar company.”
He urged other companies in The Gambia to emulate them by giving out to Gambian children. Mr Corr also reflected back on 1985, when Banjul City Council and Ville de Dakar had this kind of link and exchange summer camps in The Gambia and Senegal until the early 90s.
“There are many benefits for our young children, which can even help them in their academic work and learning of other traditions and cultures,” Mr Corr said.
Seck Gaye, a representative and an employee of CSS Senegal, in his remarks, said: “The reason we support such initiative is to encourage the children to be better in school and also it is way to say ‘thank you’ to the children by creating such avenues on the condition that they pass their examinations.”
He added: “This has yielded dividend because every child whose parents are working with the company are endeavoring to ensure that they pass their exams so that they can go on summer camping.”