Ilford Sikh camp welcomes more than 125 children to learn about history and culture

More than 125 children are attending a Sikh camp learning about history, culture and music.

The camp started yesterday and ends tomorrow at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, High Road, Ilford.

The children, aged between 11 and 17, are learning traditional instruments, how to tie turbans as well as arts and crafts.

Karan Ghatora, 12, of Coventry Road, Ilford, said: “I came to the camp as it’s very educational and I get to learn about my religion.

“It’s such a good place to be as there’s lots of people that I know and it’s better than watching TV or playing on my Xbox.”

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Part of the motivation for starting the camp was to introduce children to their heritage and ensure traditions and customs do not die out.

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Punjabi teacher at the temple and camp organiser Jasvinder Kaur said: “Our children are losing touch with the community and we have to bring them together and this is a great way of doing it.”

Children have learned about the history of rituals which are performed in the temples.

Ms Kaur said: “Many children are afraid to participate in our ceremonies feeling like they are not allowed to or are afraid. This camp teaches them what to do and how to do it.”

One of the mothers whose son attended the school is Sharmila Singh, 39, of Loughton Way, Buckhurst Hill.

She sent her 11-year-old son Khajarn to the camp to improve his confidence and to teach him about his heritage.

Mrs Singh said: “It was a chance for him to meet children in his age group and learn about Sikh history and to be proud of who he is.”

Last year the camp was only open to children who attended a nearby centre which teaches Punjabi but this year they decided to open the event to the wider community.

Mrs Kaur said: “We wanted to bring in children from the whole community and teach them about who they are.”

The camp also includes a day visiting the large Sikh temple Shri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwar in Gravesend.

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