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Posted By: Tanya Owens on January 14, 2013
Project HOPE’s Small Dolphins Summer Camp is for children between the ages of 4 and 14 who suffer from enuresis (bedwetting).For this year’s Small Dolphins Camp, Project HOPE solicited a large number of volunteers including a leading pediatrician from the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, a social worker who conducted the training, Jenny Xu and Tracy Huang from Project HOPE, 10 other pediatricians and additional volunteers.
It was intended for there to be one pediatrician per child. What Project HOPE did not anticipate was that 19 children would show up for the camp. No need to panic - the 10 pediatricians worked with two children instead of one, and the many volunteers doubled up as well. Why one pediatrician per child? This camp is intended not only to teach the children what is happening to their bodies and why they are wetting the bed, but also to train the children’s bladders and enlarge them.
Throughout the day the children drink lots of water and learn techniques to control their urination. They receive words of public praise from their parents or caretakers. This is very important, because many of these children may have only received criticism regarding their bedwetting in the past.
Why is this camp so important? Jenny Xu informed me that almost 50% of Chinese children suffer from bedwetting. This becomes quite significant in instances where children are in boarding schools and are sharing beds with other children. So, combatting this issue is critical to childhood confidence and psychological development.
I had so much fun at this camp as I observed the children having a fun time. They were in a space where they did not have to feel ashamed or hide their condition. Jenny and Tracy asked me to participate by teaching the children an English nursery rhyme that they could learn to sing.
The children learned “If You’re Happy and You Know it,” “The Hokey Pokey” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” When I began teaching “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” one brave little girl burst out singing the song in Chinese before I could finish. I was so impressed that I gave her the microphone.