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Abu Dhabi: By now most of you would have picked a summer camp for your child. But it’s never too late to review the camp’s safety and see if it’s indeed delivering what it promised.

Of late, there have been a string of unsavoury incidents at summer camps which have left a bad taste in the mouth of both parents and kids.

Harrowing accounts

A Lebanese expat said his nine-year-old son was repeatedly called a ‘retard’ and bullied by other kids on the first day of a summer camp in Abu Dhabi after the child failed to kick a football properly.

“He returned with tears. I was aghast when he narrated the incident. It’s obvious there was no one to supervise the children. My son tried to complain to the management but instead of comforting him they shooed him away,” said the man who had forked out Dh2,300 to enroll his son at the camp.

Another parent, Anaisha Vaswani, 36, from India, said his five-year-old son, Adarsh, was left with a bleeding nose after fisticuffs with another child during an art and craft session at a camp in Bur Dubai’s Ansar Gallery.

 My son was left with a bleeding nose after fisticuffs with another child at a summer camp in Dubai”

 - Anaisha Vaswani, parent 

“This is the last thing one would expect to happen at a place which claims to offer a healthy and safe environment to children. I immediately pulled my son out and got a refund,” said Anaisha. “Later I found out that the camp had enrolled more children than it could handle.”

A studio manager at the camp regretted the incident saying child safety had always been their first priority. “We’ve been hosting camps for over eight years now and this is the first time that something like this has happened.”

Lack of supervision

Most accidents happen due to lack of supervision. In 2016, a five-year-old drowned in a swimming pool at a summer camp in a Dubai school because there was no one to watch him.

A Dubai court found a British sports coach, his assistants and two school officials guilty of causing the death. The defendants were fined and ordered to pay blood money to the child’s family.

Prosecutors said the boy “remained unnoticed” in the pool and that the coach and his assistants didn’t have permits to run the camp.

Meydan resident Vinita Balwani, who enrolled her seven-year-old daughter, Rhea, at a summer camp in Al Quoz recently alleged that her daughter came home with deep bruises on her neck and legs following an unsupervised field game.

According to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) all activities held within a school’s premises require approval.

“Approval is granted subject to certain conditions being met, including health and safety measures,” said Mohammad Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Permits Commission, Knowledge and Human Development Authority.


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