Alina* is one of a thousand children who enjoyed a week of camp this summer at a woodland campsite tucked away in the hills of southern Moldova.
For a city girl, it’s such a treat. At home the 13-year-old lives with her grandmother in a block of flats with no play area for children, giving her little opportunity to mix with other youngsters outside school.
At camp she was outside all day long, exploring the forest and enjoying games and craft activities.
“Alina was very quiet the first few days,” says Rona Matheson who led a team of volunteers from the Scottish Highlands to help run the camp. “It was amazing to see how much more outgoing she became as the week went on.”
A healthier environment is just one benefit of summer camp for children like Alina. Christian counselling is another. As the Moldovan leaders gained her trust she was able to open up about her difficult situation at home. Like so many others of her generation in Eastern Europe, she has experienced broken family relationships caused by economic pressures. With no opportunity to earn a wage in Moldova, her mother had gone to work in Spain. Her father took another woman to live with him and Alina was sent to her granny.
Separated from her sister and both parents, the teenager had started harming herself as she felt so alone and unloved.
“It was great that she was able to pray with the leader and speak out about her fears,” Rona says. “The camp leaders are able to follow up children in such situations and make sure they get continued support after they return home.
“Blythswood’s support for these camps ensures not only three meals a day but the opportunity for young people like Alina to re-evaluate their lives in the light of God’s word.” *not her real name
Photo above: The rural campsite provides an amazing environment for city children