The first time we stayed away from home, the first time we travelled far with our friends and the first time we used a sleeping bag. How many of us will remember these experiences?
These and many more experiences were felt during Manzil's overnight camp at Ain Al Madhab Gardens in Fujairah. What made this camp different was that students from Manzil, a centre for individuals with special needs in Sharjah, were accompanied by their "buddies" from The Millennium School, Dubai, where they attend a partial inclusion programme every Wednesday.
All students, escorted by the staff , filed into vans one Thursday afternoon and soon reached the camp site. After putting away their baggage, the students enjoyed a game of football. They then went and explored the play equipment in the park. Later, it was time for drumming, music and some dancing.
In the evening, there was a barbeque and all the students sat down for dinner and watched a movie. By 10pm all Manzil students were fast asleep.
The next morning, after freshening up, the students had breakfast and by 9.30am they were headed back to school where their eager parents were waiting to take them home. The parents were surprised to hear about all their activities. The students had even packed up all their things independently.
It was a wonderful experience for these truly special students.
— The writer is an Inclusion Programme Coordinator at Manzil