Aside from the astronomy camp, we organize a free camp for orphans and disabled children from Tschytschkan. At the same time, we run a camp for children from Catholic parishes, a part of our work for the growing future of the Catholic Church in Central Asia. Kyrgyz children were curious about the makeshift chapel when they saw us during the Mass. We did not want to chase those kids away, making them feel unwanted. Because of that, we were at some point accused of “proselytizing.”
Children with disabilities, according to widespread opinion among local Muslims, are a punishment for the sins of their parents. Parents are stigmatized. Often, the husband leaves his wife and establishes a second family. So, a woman not only has a handicapped child, but she is left alone without support. There is no rehabilitation or activity for the kids who often suffer from extreme lack of basic care. The camp is an opening to the world.
A group of disabled children from Batken (south of Kyrgyzstan) are getting off the bus, on which they were travelling for more than one day. They are interested in everything – people, home, toilets, canteen, and, of course, water in which they can bathe. Some of them are on crutches, others in wheelchairs. Children with Down’s syndrome are independent in terms of mobility and always ready for some mischief. Their mothers, thanks to the fact that the children are taken care of by volunteers, can have a few days of rest.