The Ragamuffin Project

The Ragamuffin Project is committed to the relief of emotional pain and psychological damage in children, adults and communities through Creative Arts Therapy. We work together with those who bring such relief to people who suffer around the world.
Aug 26, 2013

Whats going on in the Ragamuffin Boathouse?

Ragamuffin Boathouse
Ragamuffin Boathouse

The Ragamuffin Boathouse is a HUB for Arts Therapy, Creativity & Social Action.

An inspiring sanctuary in the heart of Phnom Penh, Cambodia Phone: +85512521032

The Boathouse is an inspiring sanctuary in the Heart of Phnom Penh. Its peaceful light filled spaces wrapped in nature provides a unique environment and the conditions in which we can take risks, create, build relationships, and develop personally professionally and spirituality.

Home of Ragamuffin International/Cambodia INGO, Cloudstring Studio and the Boathouse HUB for creative professionals and freelance businesses. 

Our Vision is the development of a model of collaboration between NGO’s and professionals to foster, sustainability, creativity, relationships, community and spirituality.

Who’s on board?

  • Ragamuffin International (est. 1999) - Carrie Herbert, Kit Loring - Founders and Directors of Arts Therapy Services. Training, Supervision & Consultancy.

Ragamuffin Cambodia

  • ‘Be-yourself’ Arts Therapy Service for Cambodian Children and Adolescents run by Serey Samchet
  • Cloudstring Studio - Professional Recording Studio and Music Therapy Space run by Euan Gray
  • Boathouse HUB: We have flexible permanent and small team co-working desk spaces; artist in residence scheme, training & meeting room, unlimited wi-fi, 24-hour access & security, secure moto/cycle parking.
  • 'The Intimate Cafe' - in Ragamuffin's garden oasis - delicious, artistic homemade Khmer cuisine and catering services managed by Leakina - breakfast and on a bookings basis, special dinners on request
  • 'Life Creative' - Special Events - Special community events to celebrate International Days coordinated by Nataly Lee

Extracts of whats going on?

Ragamuffin International is supporting individuals and teams who work in a diverse cross-section of issues and needs in Cambodia from child protection, violence, abuse, trafficking and human rights issues. Continuing to capacity build, supervise and develop staff care and well-being in frontline organisations, teams and individuals. 

Be-Yourself project is currently working with children and adolencents who have survived acid attacks, are caught up in domestic violence, abuse and land evictions. A programme in partnership with M'Lop Russey is helping young adult orphans to be transitioned out of residential care into a community style foster care programme as Cambodia begins its move to reduce insitutionalised care. 

Cloudstring Studio has recently launched Songkites - a new programme to inspire creative songwriting in Cambodian young people. This exciting new initiative is the fist of its kind in Cambodia and will be focusing on the themes of conflict transformation, relationships and forgiveness to help young people to express and communicate original songs to a broad audience in Cambodia. 

Boathouse HUB - home to creative professionals, innovation in rural povery solutions lab, environmental politics and ethnic minority specialists. Bringing sustainability, networks and collaboration to the traditional NGO model.

Life-Creative - International Peace Day on the 21st September brings together Cambodian's and International guests in a collaborative creative experience on the theme of forgiveness and peace - a pertiant theme for Cambodia at this present time.

How you are making a difference?

As we continue to pioneer a new operational model, everything you contribute makes a difference to the services we provide. As mental health services remain still so very limited in Cambodia, there still exists such enormous need. If you would like to know more information on any of the above please contact us -

Thank you for being a part of this voyage and helping making a difference to so many people's lives who have come on board!

Carrie, Kit and The Ragamuffin Team Cambodia.

Sanctuary in the heart of the city
Sanctuary in the heart of the city
May 28, 2013

'I see you' Creative Arts Therapy for Acid Attack Survivors

‘I see you’ Creative Arts Therapy for Acid Attack Survivors

 A Partnership between Ragamuffin Cambodia and the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) 

CASC was formed in March 2006 by its partner organization, the Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC). CSC is one of few health care facilities in Cambodia providing free medical care to acid burn patients. Because CSC is a centre for general rehabilitative surgery, their ability to meet the needs of survivors of acid attacks, beyond immediate medical treatment, is limited. The social stigma surrounding attacks often leaves survivors feeling isolated, abandoned and shunned by family members, communities and service providers. Consequently, CSC made a commitment to create an organization to address the long-term needs of survivors of acid attacks. CASC now provides holistic care to people bearing such scars in a secure, compassionate and non-judgmental environment.

Acid attacks are a pre-meditated form of violence that leaves survivors physically, socially and emotionally and psychologically scarred. 

Innocent victims - Children are often caught up in acid attacks and not only are witness to the violence and severe injuries of a parent but suffer too physically, socially and emotionally.

'I see you' is an Arts Therapy programme designed to assess and support the psychological needs of children such as these. 

Ragamuffin are providing an Individual and group Arts Therapy programme in collaboration with a CASC social worker in an intial pilot funded by The Kadoorie Foundation. The Arts Therapists are working closely with the CASC team in the ongoing support and care planning for clients to ensure continuity of care.

"The children come to Ragamuffin Boathouse and can play out all their energy and distress. Their behaviour changes when they feel safe in this sanctuary to be themselves without any judgement or expectation. They can channel their feelings through the Arts and begin to share their deep feelings with the Arts Therapist. The parents have noticed the difference already in their behaviour. Every behaviour a child shows communicates something they are trying to say. 'I see you' is a unique programme that gives these children the chance to be deeply seen, heard and given a voice to express all the locked up feelings and distress inside - in being deeply seen and valued they can begin to 'be themselves"

The programme is having the following benefits:

  • Arts Therapy reducing the symptoms of acute distress for survivors of acid attacks, improving self-esteem, confidence and empowerment.
  • Strengthening capacity of the staff in CASC and parents/caregivers who provide psychological care and support.
  • Raised awareness within organisation of psychological care for survivors 

So much more is needed:

Long term Arts Therapy provision with both the children and their parents/ caregivers is needed to enable these children and their families to manage and live with complex injuries, social stigma and psychological suffering as a result of acid attacks. If you are interested in supporting this project please contact us at:  





Feb 26, 2013

Be-yourself Cambodian Arts Therapy Service

Ragamuffin House is a beautiful sanctuary in the heart of the city of Phnom Penh, and home to Ragamuffin Cambodia - an International Creative Arts Therapy Organisation (est.1999). We provide innovative and pioneering programmes that support those experiencing trauma or mental health problems. Our projects current programmes include:

  • Be-Yourself - A Cambodian-led Arts Therapy service for children & adolescents; 
  • The Ragamuffin Lighthouse Therapeutic Recording Studio - A Music Therapy and Professional Recording programme;
  • New Frontiers - Wilderness and Adventure Therapy for young people at risk;
  • Ragamuffin International - Professional Training and Consultancy in Arts Therapy, Mental Health and Organisational Well-being.
  • Life Creative – Inspiring Community Events and Healing Foods in Ragamuffin’s Intimate Café.

Be-Yourself  - is Cambodia's first Cambodian led Arts Therapy Service for Children and Adolescents.

Its been the result of training, pilot programmes and funding support from people like you!

Our team of Cambodian Therapists are able to offer tailor made therapeutic programmes for individuals, groups and communities.

They are working with children who have experienced trafficking, abuse, violence or who are living with HIV and experiences of poverty and complex social backgrounds.

Mental health services are vital to well-being and resillience for young people and their families, especially in countries where there are little resources and support. Arts Therapy provides a natural and gentle approach to empowering individuals and groups to realise who they are and their value and worth in the world.

Our team are witnessing a remarkable impact.

Ragamuffin’s Arts Therapy Clinic for children and young people has continued to develop in partnership with six organisations, Ragamuffin’s Arts Therapists are working with children and young people with diverse needs and who are often from complex and extremely difficult socio/economic backgrounds for example:

  1. Children who live with HIV and have lost one or both parents from the disease.
  2. Those who have experienced abuse or the violence of being trafficked and sexually exploited.
  3. Children who grow up in families where domestic violence and addictions are prevalent.
  4. Children in situations of poverty where they are forced to be involved in child labour to enable their family to survive
  5. Children whose home is the streets or beach and are at risk from being exploited
  6. Families who have been evicted from their land and have become refugees in their own country

Working with Partner Organisations enables us to develop joined up services and strengthen the capacity of each organisation’s psychological services. Training, the development of policies and protocols for safeguarding children, and providing programmes of individual and group Creative Arts Therapy all serve to meet children in their need and deepen an understanding of the emotional and psychological needs of children for the staff team. This helps create a response to children that is insightful and sensitive. To this end, Ragamuffin Therapists also provide a specialist service that works alongside social workers, caregivers and medical staff.

“As I have observed Ragamuffin therapists work, I have gained new knowledge and have learnt a whole new way of being with children. For example, I have been learning how to encourage children to play, and to help them manage their challenges without reacting. In the past it was easy to be angry with the children, I didn’t know how to deal with their behaviour, as a result of our partnership with Ragamuffin, I have changed, I can encourage and support children, its helped me to understand and be patient. I’m now encouraging mothers and caregivers to learn how to play in this way with children – it’s a healing way, and I’ve seen the positive difference it makes. It’s increased my ability and confidence to be actively involved with the children and families.” (E & D Staff Member)

“ We have received, support encouragement, patience, motivation and new opportunities. Ragamuffin is a safe and peaceful place who we have been fortunate to link with and bring troubled and traumatised children from the community to get support. Our team have been able to observe how therapists work with children and learn so much in this process. It’s helped me to recognise and discover how to strengthen, value and understand partnership working, the management of collaboration and relationships between organisations.” (Director of E & D)

As a result there has been an increased recognition of the value and impact of arts therapy with those who are suffering distress. Increase corporation. Increased awareness in the whole organisation of mental health issues, arts therapy and sensitive effective responses and programme development. It also helps us to be more in tune with the need to prioritise mental health issues in the community and understand how they impact on a person, their family and the community.” (Director E & D)

The future of the Arts Therapy Clinic

I hope this Clinic will continue to help children in Cambodia and provide them a chance to explore, express, and acknowledge their pain and deeply felt emotions so that they can take their place in the world and make progress. The clinic allows traumatized children to search deep within themselves and helps them gain inner strength and confidence”. (Panchakna Khlok)

“I think it is so important for Ragamuffin’s Arts Therapy clinic to continue in the long term. So far, I have provided ongoing therapy to fragile and distressed clients-  all my clients suffer severe depression, anxiety, and behavioural problems that are caused by sexual abuse, domestic violent, addiction, and HIV/AIDS. The clients have found this therapy process as the breath and sacred space to look deeply into their inner world that is full of unresolved conflict. And, it also helps them to find new positive relationship between their inside and outside world, and to navigate new hope, new way to solve their conflict, and to embrace self-love one again. (Serey Samchet – Arts Therapist)

You have and you can continue to make a difference by supporting our Cambodian Arts Therapy Team!

Thank you for being part of Be-Yourself Arts Therapy Service in Cambodia - committed to making a difference to he lives of traumatised and vulnerable children.

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