Miss World Guyana launches summer camp at Sophia Special Needs School

– Aimed at addressing mental health issues via the use of sport and physical activities.

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 19, 2018

Over the next six weeks, students of the Sophia Special Needs School will be the beneficiaries of a health and fitness camp hosted in the school’s compound.

The students will be engaged in a number of sport, namely football, cricket, hockey and boxing. They will also be educated on the importance of proper nutrition and how to incorporate it into their lives. Councillors will be made available to advise them on the issue of mental health.

The project, which commenced on Monday, is part of Miss World Guyana 2018, Ambika Ramraj’s beauty with a purpose platform. It is in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ministry of Health and the National Sports Commission.

According to Ramraj, this camp solidifies their commitment “to giving these children an opportunity for a successful life,” through the use of sport and physical activities.

The beauty queen stated that her program “started with a vision to help youth who may have been affected by mental health issues,” such as depression and anxiety. She disclosed that it was through personal experience, she chose to address the issue of mental health.

“I, myself, found it to be helpful in the issues I was facing in my life and I knew I would be able to use this platform to help other individuals who may have been in the situation that I was in.”

Ramraj stated that the involvement of youth in sporting activities, helps them develop “a disciplined, focused and overall mental wellbeing that is beneficial and better.” She pointed out that youths affected by mental health are often left to deal with it on their own. She reiterated that the “focus of this programme is addressing this issue. It is to help them overcome any mental health issue they may be affected by.”

Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton shared similar sentiments noting that “being active and being part of a team goes far beyond the physical benefits.”

Minister Norton expressed his satisfaction that the Miss World Guyana 2018 has embarked on this project.

He stated that “this fits nicely into our social cohesion agenda,” explaining that “it is to ensure that all Guyanese regardless of race, religion, geographic location, capability have equal access to opportunity and betterment.”

The minister urged the students to continue to be involved in physical activities after the programme ends, as he expressed confidence that they will be better equipped with skills to cope with everyday life.

Representatives from the Ministry of Education, the National Sports Commission and the Headteacher of the Sophia Special Needs School, all lauded Ramraj for her initiative.

By: Anara Khan

Images: Leroy Lyttle