smiles. far and wide.

bringing the fun to resource limited areas

In countries where the medical and psychosocial needs of children often outstrip available local resources, the Global Partnership Program (GPP) of SeriousFun Children’s Network meets the needs of children who have been marginalized by their condition and by their community’s response. Working in collaboration with other international organizations, the Global Partnership Program gives children living with serious illnesses in Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean the same kind of chance as any other child who attends a SeriousFun Camp in the U.S. or Europe – the chance to recover their childhood, restore their hope and renew their sense of possibility.

The result is a locally designed, culturally applicable program that excites, inspires and empowers children with serious illnesses to regain their sense of optimism, possibility and hope. Read our Global Partnership Program Overview to learn more. You can also see GPP in action in this inspiring video.

The Global Partnership Program looks for partner organizations and collaborators to bring the magic of camp to new countries. If your organization works with children living with serious illnesses and you are interested to explore the idea of a Global Partnership Program, please contact gpp@seriousfunnetwork.org.

where you’ll find us

Africa

Ethiopia – Camp Addis
Camp Addis serves orphans and vulnerable children living with HIV and AIDS. Campers can be found creating a talk show about living with HIV; having a crazy costume photo shoot; participating in daily sports; making arts & crafts; and attending a very special banquet dinner and awards ceremony on the final night of camp. Camp songs can be heard year-round since many of the camp staff work with the campers throughout the year. Camp Addis is operated through a partnership between SeriousFun Children’s Network and the Worldwide Orphans Foundation.

Lesotho – Camp ‘Mamohato
Camp ‘Mamohato, named after the first queen of Lesotho, is held just outside the capital of Maseru in a beautiful, secluded setting surrounded by trees and mountains. Camp ‘Mamohato is the only program to have both a summer and winter camp season. Children from every district in Lesotho attend camp and can be heard singing their way to and from every activity, including campfires and “Mountain Meetings.” Camp ‘Mamohato is operated through a partnership among SeriousFun Children’s Network, Sentebale, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation Lesotho.

Malawi – Camp Hope
Camp Hope takes place outside of the capital of Lilongwe, Malawi. Activities focus on positive living; addressing issues of treatment adherence; dealing with stigma and discrimination; developing healthy relationships; balancing nutrition; and maintaining hygiene, while also including traditional camp activities like campfires, team building games, and arts & crafts. Camp Hope Malawi operates through a partnership among SeriousFun Children’s Network, World Camp Inc, and the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation Malawi.

Swaziland – Sivivane Camp
A sivivane is a carefully stacked pile of stones that, in Swaziland, indicates a place of safety or a refuge on a long journey. This theme is woven throughout the program, where camp is always about safety, love, and respect. Sivivane Camp is operated through a partnership among SeriousFun Children’s Network, the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation Swaziland, Young Heroes, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Tanzania - Salama Camp
Salama Camp is located in the midst of a narrow highland valley framed by rolling green mountains on the outskirts of Mbeya, Tanzania.  Here, HIV positive children have the opportunity to build connections through nightly “Ala za Roho” (sounds for the heart and soul) cabin chats; enhance their creativity by designing outfits from recycled paper; and strengthen their outlook on the future through a selection of HIV related activities. Salama Camp is operated through a partnership between SeriousFun Children’s Network and Baylor Children’s Foundation Tanzania.

Uganda – Sanyuka Camp
Sanyuka (which means ‘happiness’) Camp focuses on healthy living and building self-esteem. Campers go on a field trip to the nearby Entebbe Wildlife Refuge; have daily swim lessons; perform music, dance and drumming shows; take cooking lessons; and play a camper versus counselor capture the flag game. Sanyuka Camp is operated through a partnership between SeriousFun Children’s Network and the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation Uganda.

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Asia

Cambodia – Camp Lotus
Located 45 minutes outside of the capital Phnom Penh at the New Hope for Cambodian Children (NHCC) village, Camp Lotus provides residential camp opportunities to children living with HIV and AIDS. The NHCC village, a permanent home to over 200 children, is a perfect setting for camp, complete with clusters of cottages surrounding a community kitchen and a basketball court. Camp Lotus operates through a partnership between SeriousFun Children’s Network and NHCC.

India – Camp Rainbow (Chennai and Bangalore)
Camp Rainbow-Chennai was the first Global Partnership Program to serve HIV positive children living in India.  Building upon this successful foundation, in 2014 an additional camp opened its doors to share the camp magic with children in city of Bangalore. At Camp Rainbow, campers are given the opportunity to design beautiful mehndi on their hands at culture night, sing the dosa song before each meal, receive specialized Super Chutti or Minchuva Nakshetra awards, play cricket, and learn about living positively with HIV. Camp Rainbow operates in partnership between SeriousFun Children’s Network, Y.R. Gaitonde Center for AIDS Research and Education (YRGCARE), Community Health Education Society (CHES), and Action Service Hope for AIDS Foundation (ASHA Foundation).

Vietnam – Camp Colors of Love
At Camp Colors of Love, outside of Ho Chi Minh City, campers have the opportunity to stay in platform tents, splash on slip and slides, paddle in canoes, and enjoy a festival night. Camp Colors of Love, which began serving children in 2008, is operated through a partnership between SeriousFun Children’s Network and the Worldwide Orphans Foundation.

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SeriousFun Children's Network - Camps - Haiti

Caribbean

Haiti – Kan Etwal
Kan Etwal, or “Camp of Stars,” is a shining experience for children living with HIV in Haiti. Taking place in the mountains of Kenscoff, far from the devastation of the earthquake, campers sing “Pran medikaman’m” as they receive their medication and take part in nightly “Coeur a Coeur” (Heart-to-Heart) cabin chats. Children also have the opportunity to discover the importance of environmental stewardship by transforming recyclable materials into handcrafted jewelry. Kan Etwal is operated through a partnership among SeriousFun Children’s Network, Worldwide Orphans Foundation, and Saint Damien Hospital.

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SeriousFun Children's Network - Camps - Paraguay

South America

Paraguay - Campuka
Campuka is the first Global Partnership Program to serve children living with cancer and hemophilia. This camp is operated in Asuncion, Paraguay through a partnership between SeriousFun Children’s Network, Arapacha. At Campuka, campers have the opportunity to explore different activities such as arts and crafts, music and theater, teambuilding activities, to create a collage of their future and create masks to parade in the Camp Carnival among many other things. 

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faqs

In what countries does the Global Partnership Program operate?

The Global Partnership Program currently works with local partners in twelve countries on four continents. These include Africa (Ethopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda), Asia (Cambodia, India, Vietnam), Carribean (Haiti), and South America (Paraguay).

When do camps operate? For how long?

Camps operate during the school holidays in their country – typically during the winter or summer breaks. Each session of camp is a four to six day residential (overnight) session that takes place at a rented facility.  Global Partnership Programs have one to four back-to-back sessions of camp that may take place once or twice a year, depending on the school calendar. In addition, GPP partners coordinate regular camp follow-up and outreach events, where campers meet at their clinic or hospital to participate in camp activities, sing camp songs, visit with other campers and receive their meds. This reinforces the camp connection as well as the life skills learned during their time at camp.

How does SeriousFun choose partner organizations? What is required?

SeriousFun regularly identifies and is introduced to potential partners around the world, which serve children in a variety of ways. Each GPP program typically requires an on-the-ground Program Partner and Medical Partner. These partners are NGOs, clinics, hospitals or other youth focused organizations whose mission is in line with a SeriousFun program. SeriousFun undertakes due diligence to determine if the potential partner organizations have sufficient capacity to meet the needs of the GPP programs that they would like to support. After initial meetings, an agreement is made regarding the roles and responsibilities of each partner, including, but not limited to: locating camp sites, coordinating logistics, providing staff, recruiting campers, providing medical support, supporting follow-up programming and raising funds for the programs.

Does ‘camp’ actually work in so many different countries and cultures?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned for certain, it’s that the camp experience transcends language, culture and geography. The philosophy of our GPP is to adapt the SeriousFun model to individual cultures with the help of the local leadership team. Over the course of planning visits and trainings, the SeriousFun and local leadership teams collaborate to design a staff training and camp program that incorporates the language, customs, and culture of each country, while maintaining the SeriousFun core values of safety, love and respect. Signature SeriousFun songs, skits and activities can be seen and heard in Basotho, Lugandan or Vietnamese alongside Spanish games, Tamil dances or Amharic greetings.

Where do the children come from?

The children are recruited by our local partners – often from the medical clinics that treat the children and their families. Some children come from local villages and communities, and travel great distances for the opportunity to attend camp. Still other campers come from orphanages or care homes for children living with HIV and AIDS.

Do the children have serious medical conditions?

The children served through the GPP are living with HIV, AIDS or cancer. The Global Partnership Program is looking for potential partner organizations that serve children living with other serious illnesses as well.

Who are the staff and where do they come from?

Camp staff members are recruited with the help of our local partners. Like other SeriousFun Camps, the staff is primarily made up of college students on summer break. In addition, partner organizations send their own staff members to work as Group Leaders or Activity Leaders as an investment in building their skills working with children.

What kind of training is involved?

Each camp has an intensive five to six day staff orientation for both new and returning camp staff, to ensure that they operate at a level of programming that meets SeriousFun camp standards. Training is designed and facilitated by members of our GPP team and one to three GPP Field Consultants who focus on leadership development and building the capacity of the staff.

Why support sending kids to camp instead of life-saving efforts like food, medicine and economic development?

We believe that camp provides a psycho-social intervention for a child that lasts far beyond their 4-5 days at camp. For many children, camp is the first time in their lives they’ve had a positive relationship with an adult and the first time they’ve been surrounded by other children with the same diagnosis. In many cases, it’s also the first time they’ve felt a sense of hope and considered the possibility that life is worth living. We believe that this optimism and the self-empowerment that comes with it are essential for all other aid programs to be effective. With the introduction of monthly follow-up programs, the camp experience extends year-round, creating a safe haven where children feel accepted, learn life skills and are reminded of the importance of taking medications.

How can I volunteer or get involved?

The mission of serving children in developing countries resonates with SeriousFun camp supporters and we receive many requests to volunteer at a GPP camp. However, unlike our SeriousFun Camps in the US and Europe, the GPP programs rely on local staff who not only speak the language and know the culture, but who are also available to participate in the camp follow-up activities. In addition, the ultimate goal of the GPP is to support and build the capacity of the local leadership team so that they can plan and implement camp year-round. Although volunteer opportunities in these regions are unavailable, we encourage you to consider volunteering at a SeriousFun camp in the US or Europe by visiting their individual camp websites.