Summer boost for UAE youngsters from low-income families

ABU DHABI // It’s hot, school is shut and if parents are unable to afford to pay for extra activities, which can cost hundreds of dirhams a week, children often end up spending weeks indoors. But this summer Boost, a non-profit initiative run across the UAE, helped youngsters from low-income families to fill their time […]

ABU DHABI // It’s hot, school is shut and if parents are unable to afford to pay for extra activities, which can cost hundreds of dirhams a week, children often end up spending weeks indoors.

But this summer Boost, a non-profit initiative run across the UAE, helped youngsters from low-income families to fill their time by finding spaces in summer camps that were free.

This summer 137 youngsters, mostly from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, took part in camps, staying active, mixing with children from different cultures and backgrounds, and nurturing their social skills.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of the families and they’ve noticed a difference in their children, a boost in self-esteem, confidence and even their English skills,” said Tracy Fountain, the programme’s founder.

Ms Fountain has seen how being able to play with other children and stay active can affect a child’s personality.

“Last year I was supporting a single Sri Lankan mother whose boy was left at home while she went to work,” she said.

“He stayed in his room for the whole month and his behaviour started to change.”

Shama DiSilva’s son Chalana Denuwan Edirisingha attended one of the summer camps after she noticed him growing “argumentative, upset and sometimes angry” after being away from his friends.

“Parents like me, from lower-earning families, never usually get the opportunity to send their children to summer camps,” Ms DiSilva said.

“It means the world to see him come home from the summer camp, be happy and tell me about what he has learnt that day.”

Boost, which is in its first year, teamed with 13 summer camps, schools and sports programmes to find free slots for children from low-income families.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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