As Camp Fihavanana 2017 came to an end, staff members and students created presentations to show the different activities they participated in throughout the two weeks to their family members. Our goal was to empower these students by giving them tasks that would develop their leadership skills, and I am confident that these students are highly qualified to overcome challenges that otherwise could hinder their education. They took advantage of this opportunity through their participations, which shows that they are passionate and want to make a difference.
We encouraged them to not settle with their circumstances or allow cultural expectations to determine their future. Coming from a low income family, myself, was a challenge growing up, and I was unable to participate in summer camps. Joining Camp Fihavanana as a camp counselor with no experience was nerve-wrecking but it was worth it. I was able to contribute to this camp by developing strong relationships with the students and encouraging them to go outside their comfort zone. I feel challenged outside my comfort zone, and I see how that has stopped me from taking advantage of different opportunities in the past. At camp, I pushed the quiet students to share their opinion because I know that they have something valuable to add, even if they don’t have the confidence to share it out loud. My goal was to empower them and make them see their potential.
The majority of our campers came from poor families. Many of them have a difficult time getting access to programs that can assist them in continuing their education. This has a negative outcome; it stops them from believing that they can contribute to their community to solve issues such as poverty, gender inequality, and corruption. At camp, we strived to change the mindset that relying on others is the only way to fix current issues.
During camp, the campers created projects that hope to find different methods and solutions to eliminate these social issues. That is what Camp Fihavanana represents - a community of young individuals that have the desire to work on making their country a better place without having to settle.