In March 2014 an Occupational Therapist wrote a lovely letter to us asking for donations for a Mission Trip organised by the Hilton and Barn Churches based in Inverness. They were going to provide therapeutic input for disadvantaged children at a Romanian retreat, Casa Harului (House of Grace). We provided a large quantity of foam for seating adaptions, a therapy roll and staff members sent up hand-made sock monsters and toys as well as three large bags of sensory/craft materials for use during the trip.
For more information please contact team co-ordinator Mike Robertson on 01463 239 785. Read on to find out how Morven and the team got on.
On Monday 28th July, 10 children with disabilities aged 2-10 years old (either Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or Autistic Spectrum Disorder) arrived at Casa Harului with their parent or grandmothers to stay for respite, whilst their children/grandchildren participated in the holiday camp programme. 18 orphaned children ranging from 12-16 years also attended with one of the Orphanages’ carers. What wonderful children they all were.
Our first day was spent meeting the children and forming relationships with them, and helping them to settle into the holiday camp. Thereafter, there was a daily programme following the Biblical theme of “Creation”. After breakfast, some of the team played with the children and used the sensory-motor toys, which were purchased for their use, and the ones donated. The children then heard the Bible message for that day, whilst I did a teaching session daily for the parents, on different daily living activities – positioning & handling, feeding, dressing, hand function/play – and they got the opportunity to ask questions specific to their children and needs. We had a disabled adult interpreter to assist.
Following this, the kids engaged in a craft activity relating to what they had heard in the Bible teaching – we made light-reflective mobiles, clay birds/fish, “grass” heads, painted stones and added glow-in-the-dark stars & moon, animal felt puppets. All creative and sensory, and lots of fun. We also did some creative prayers e.g. thanking God for things we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. After lunch I spent time with parents/grandparents identifying ways I could help their children with sitting, feeding and providing activities for visual impairment. I adapted some pushchairs and wheelchairs to provide better support using high density foam that was donated, and using strapping and buckles or sew-on Velcro. The afternoon session was a general craft. The children decorated bags, T-shirts, we did face painting and we did sensory stations (feely boxes, shaving foam & paint, glittery play dough, made “smelly” tissue paper flowers, made peppermint & orange fondant creams, feely bowls with rice/sand). After dinner we had time to worship together, some children even did some solo singing and played instruments – they were awesome!
It was overall a wonderful “family” atmosphere, much love was shared, lots of joy was seen, and the place and setting was so full of peace. On the last day the children and leaders made a large collage together depicting the days of creation. It was colourful, full of texture and very creative!
It was hard to say goodbye to the children and parents/grandmothers on Sunday 3rd August, as we had got close to over the space of a week. They were thankful for the help and love received. Never before had they received such acceptance, practical help or been equipped to deal with their children before. It was a blessing for them and for all the team. We handed over to Barn Church team for the second week of mission. They would be greeting another group of disabled children attending the camp for a week on the Monday as we left to return home. All the large items donated were left at Casa Harului for others to get the benefit from. Some of the purchased items I got from Rompa were issued to parents to take home for their children – tactile toys, scissors, pencil grips – the rest of the items were donated to Casa Harului. I made up a feely bag for one boy with cerebral palsy and severe visual impairment to play tactile games with, he and his mother were delighted.
All the crafts the children made were put in the bags they decorated, and a “Nessie” keyring, Haribo sweets and a sock monster were added They took their goodie bag home with them when they departed from the camp. I saw some of the little ones holding their sock monsters in their hands as they drove away!
Some of these children have never had a holiday before, nor have they had so much stimulation and fun during the school holidays, so it was a blessing to give them that, with all our fundraising. All the crafts the children made were put in the bags they decorated, and a “Nessie” keyring, Haribo sweets and a sock monster were added They took their goodie bag home with them when they departed from the camp. I saw some of the little ones holding their sock monsters in their hands as they drove away!
It was truly wonderful to be part of the team, and it would not have been as special, without your generous and useful donations. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We really appreciate your support.
Morven Ball & Hilton & Barn Church Youth mission teams (Inverness)