In Kenya, a camp for kids embraces its Hawaiian name ... along with plenty of aloha
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An organization in western Kenya opens a world of possibilities for children in need. It took its name from the islands: Camp Ohana.
“These children are underprivileged, and in some cases just children that are curious to broaden their horizons beyond just their own backyard, to learn what the world is all about,” Camp Ohana founder Amos Balongo said.
He started the camp 13 years ago to provide youth in Kenya with recreational, educational, and cross-cultural programs. Individuals, churches and organizations in Hawaii now pitch in to help with money and volunteers.
One supporter is Prisma Dance Hawaii, a well-known dance and ballet studio.
“I’ve been several times to visit Camp Ohana in Kenya and have loved working with the staff. The staff so care for these children. It’s phenomenal,” Prisma Dance director Nicole Lam said.
Hundreds of children and teenagers have participated in Camp Ohana classes and activities.
Balongo said the camp sees itself as a reservoir of hope for Kenya’s underprivileged youth.
“When we impact a child through any of our programs, the big idea here is to go out and teach others, to go out and share the concepts of what they’ve learned,” he said.
The camp also works with children and teenagers in orphanages in Kenya.
Prisma Dance is helping to fund the effort. With its new production called “Seasons,” Prisma’s trying to raise $6,000 through ticket sales. The money will help pay for the camp’s dance and music programs for one year.
Lam said the investment will improve the lives of children who need a helping hand. She has taken some of her dancers to volunteer at Camp Ohana.
“Many more want to go up and visit Kenya now that they have a connection with this program,” she said.
Balongo now lives in Hawaii. He travels to Kenya several times a year to oversee Camp Ohana and to tell the children there that people in the 50th state care about them.
“The true spirit of ohana really comes down to not always just people you’re related to. It’s people that care about you, people that love you and people that reach out and give you a hand when you need it,” he said.
Performances of “Seasons” will be Friday and Saturday at Paliku Theater.
Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
Prisma Dance hopes for sold out shows so more youth in Kenya can feel the Aloha Spirit.
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