Ragamuffin’s Arts Therapy Clinic for Children and Young People in Crisis – 2011 Update
The attached document provides a brief narrative report from the clinic therapist and organisation partners. September 2010 to February 2011 has already seen significant developments and growth in Ragamuffin’s Arts therapy work in Cambodia as the new clinic opened and develops.
“One of my clients used to suffer a lot with somatic problems, which were caused by psychological problems before she came to get therapy here. After I have worked with her for 6 sessions through healing arts therapy, she has started to feel more connected to her body and get relief from her physical and emotional pain. Here is her quote “it is a peaceful place for me, I feel I am heard and healed. My body started to decrease the pain whenever I stepped into the room and expressed my feelings through my drawing and playing with all the toys. I could see my red heart come closer and closer to my body and I want them to be one ” (Samchet – Arts Therapist 2011)
Ragamuffin’s Arts Therapy Clinic for children and young people has now been set up. 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 socio/economic backgrounds for example:
“My client came in for first time and reported that she feels fine, she said that ” there is nothing in my past that bothers me “ Throughout the entire session, she tried to reassure me that nothing bad has happened to her. In the second session I asked her to draw a picture and she drew herself surrounded by different coloured hearts and she said “these are the hearts of all the bad people who have hurt me”. It was only through the creative medium that she was able to express her experiences, her pain, and so begin to consider how she might find hope for the future” (Panchakna Arts Therapist 2011).
“The most noticeable impact on both the group and individual sessions has been on participants' new found ability to express themselves and their feelings, alongside a more grounded outlook on life. We see improvements in mental health, physical health, success of livelihood and/or increased opportunities, and a renewed desire to help others in their community”. (LICHADO Director 2010)
Working with Partner Organisations enables us to develop joined up services; strengthen the capacity of the organisation’s psychological services through training; develop policies and protocols for safeguarding children and provide programmes of individual and group Creative Arts Therapy. Ragamuffin’s Therapists provide a specialist service that works alongside social workers, caregivers and medical staff.
“The clinic offers our staff more support and supervision and allows us to refer cases where we are struggling to provide the services the child needs, e.g. situations where children have long term problems and are not recovering”. (M’Lop Tapang)
“The art therapy and counselling team feel more supported and less 'stuck' with difficult cases as they have Ragamuffin to refer to or seek advice and support from. This makes staff feel more confident and safe and less overwhelmed”. (M’Lop Tapang)
It's a long-term commitment which means that a real impact can be attained. Partnership with a team that understands the cultures and the challenges specific to the country and the people. Expertise in an area where knowledge and qualified people are scare. Expertise within National staff which means translation is not an issue. Support from a top to bottom level, i.e. capacity building regarding the development of individual children right up to support building, the process runs throughout the entire organisation. A short-term financial investment into the development of the psychological services, which will result in long-term sustainable improvement. (AFESIP)
You can read more about these developments in the document attached.
Your support is making this possible.
Thank you from all the team in Ragamuffin Cambodia - hand in hand and side by side together making a difference!
September to January has already seen significant developments and growth in Ragamuffin’s work in Cambodia and Asia.
One member of the team recently joined us from the US; a Cambodian/American Arts/Play Therapist, returning to Cambodia for the first time.
“I have been on the Ragamuffin team for only three weeks and yet, I feel as though I have always been a part of this team. Leaving the comforts of home was a difficult decision, but I feel honoured and privileged to work with such an amazing team that understands and stands true to the philosophy that art heals. Being here just reaffirms my belief that the Cambodian people needs the creative arts as a means to heal, to express, to comfort their souls in times of hardship.“ (Chatti – Cambodian/American Arts/Play Therapist)
Ragamuffin House is a unique sanctuary for Creative Arts Therapy, Training and Supervision. The environment reflects an ethos of peace, safety, healing and playfulness. An outdoor meditation garden brings the symbols of nature to support anyone who comes for Arts therapy. For those who have lost their homes and land Ragamuffin has been like a bridge to their new lives.
“We have everything in Ragamuffin. It’s like a boat and a lake that provides us with life and the resources of nature and I feel so happy coming here to express all my sorrow in life. We feel safe and secure here. Ragamuffin can provide us with all the things we need to find our light inside. It gives us strength to commit to help ourselves in order to find our light, our true life and have a happy heart again - to realise that even though we have lost everything, seeds of hope can still grow in our hearts.” (Client from an Evicted Community)
Responding to Emergencies - Koh Pich Bridge Stampede
During this time, Cambodia has suffered a tragedy. On November 22, 2010, during Cambodia’s most celebrated Water Festival, a stampede on Koh Pich Bridge in Phnom Penh killed 347 people and injured over 700. Working alongside organisations involved in frontline care, Ragamuffin has been providing Arts Therapy sessions for survivors and de-briefing for organisations responding to the emergency.
“I have been working with a child who experienced trauma reactions due to the incident at the Koh Pich bridge stampede. Our main goal is to not only decrease his symptoms, but also to build his inner strength so that he is able to self regulate his responses to cultural superstitious beliefs (ghosts). Since seeing the child, he has reported improvements in his symptoms. His mother also reported that after the first session, her son has begun to be himself again. Sessions involve using a child-centered approach in which the child leads the way during the session and has control over what he does. He has chosen to work with the sand tray, to draw, and to play the musical instruments. I feel that creative therapy will provide this child with a safe container in which to express his inner turmoil and struggles until his symptoms of distress have ceased.” (Chatti – Arts/Play Therapist)
Reaching out beyond
Training Needs Assessments with Organisations working with Vulnerable Children and Communities in Tamil Nadu, India.
In September, Ragamuffin’s Directors and a Cambodia Arts Therapist went to Tamil Nadu, in Southern India to work intensively with two organisations who provide critical support for street and working children and vulnerable communities. We provided basic training in psychological care and conducted a training needs assessment to explore the existing capacity of the organisation, with specific reference to its psychosocial care and therapeutic services, and make recommendations for their development. We considered the quality of psychological care and also the context in which such care takes place.
The scope of these assessments was broad and included: policies, protocols, organisational culture, team dynamics, the management of team dynamics and conflict, management structures and systems as well as the existing competencies of individual staff and team functioning. All these things are directly relevant to any meaningful Training Needs Assessment that aims to strengthen an organisation’s psychological services and our input was wholeheartedly embraced by these organisations. The demands on them are considerable, and support in the form of training and supervision was recognized as critical to long-term sustainability.
Retreats for Emergency and Humanitarian Aid Workers – Caring for the Caregivers
As the Asian Region has, and is suffering from many natural disasters, Ragamuffin has been working with Satori (a Bali based organisation) in providing therapeutic retreats for humanitarian and emergency aid workers. These programmes began in November 2010 and aim to provide critical de-briefing, recovery, restoration and tools to enable resilience for those in the field as one participant experienced.
“I burned out doing international development work in Afghanistan and East Africa, and I have been on a year-long quest to restore balance to my life. I wish I had discovered Satori much sooner. Satori’s kind and gifted facilitators helped me define my path to greater balance in my life and accelerated my progress by introducing me to tools I didn’t know existed and alerting me to strengths I didn’t know I had. I feel more whole, more resilient and more “myself” as a result of this beautiful program. Thank you, Satori.” (Participant)
“The Ragamuffin project has been instrumental in providing support to Satori Worldwide in several areas, including strategic planning during the development phase as well as therapeutic services during retreats. The founders of Satori have relied heavily on input from the Ragamuffin project because of its intimate knowledge of trauma and recovery as it plays out in the humanitarian context, and the innovative ways in which it teaches people to manage it. The Ragamuffin Project forms an invaluable part of the team” (Renee, Co-founder and Director of Satori Worldwide)
2011 - The Year ahead
2011 is going to be an exciting and challenging year! As the Ragamuffin Clinic grows we will also be building the capacity of Cambodians in Arts Therapy through our Foundation and Advanced Level Training Programme. We remain fully committed to this work to work in the region with our Asian Team, supporting those who work in emergencies and responding to people who are hurting and suffering.
The part you play…
We could not do this work without the commitment and support of a dedicated team of sponsors and funders. Your contributions make a direct impact and difference to the lives of those who suffer. Without your support this work cannot hope to meet the demand and grow.
Thank you for choosing to be part of Ragamuffin’s work to help restore those whose lives have been shattered or broken.
"This course has helped me find peace within. I must progress in using this to help others. Cambodia has peace now there is no war – but the real peace is still to be found in our hearts where many wars are still to be found. When we are healed - that’s when we are really living again.” (Graduate of The Foundation in Healing Arts Course 2010)
In July 2010 Graduates passed the first advanced course in Arts Therapy in Cambodia. Two graduates are now part of the Arts Therapy team responsible for opening and Arts Therapy Clinic for emotionally and psychologically distressed children and young adults in October 2010 joined by a Foundation Level Graduate and a British Dramatherapist.
The Clinic team will be providing Arts Therapy in partnership with organizations who work with Street Children, children living with HIV, young adult orphans, children who have been trafficked or sexually abused, communities who have been evicted from their land and homes and communities where there are high levels of violence, addictions and poverty.
The Clinic will be conducted mainly in Ragamuffin House Creative Arts Therapy Centre.
In January 2011 Ragamuffin will be starting another intake of its year long Foundation Course in the Healing Arts and the Advanced Course in Arts Therapy. This training is not only impacting the lives of many vulnerable children and young adults but also the lives of those caring for them as we train people not to do therapy but to be therapy in a way that is indigenous and culturally relevant:
“At Ragamuffin, they have been teaching me to use my gifts, gifts that were buried inside me. I seek to help the next generation. Because of the Pol Pot regime Cambodians are victims of so much cruelty. My heart is broken seeing the consequences this has had on the next generations. Having seen for myself Khmer killing Khmer – its impact goes to the deepest part of the individual, family and community. This course has helped me find peace within. I must progress in using this to help others. Cambodia has peace now there is no war – but the real peace is still to be found in our hearts where many wars are still to be found. When we are healed - that’s when we are really living again.”
“This course has positively enriched my life. Developing my skills in Creative Arts Therapy. I have now become more observant about the circumstances around me and have begun to notice more accurately what is happening in my life. As a counselor, I am used to helping many people get through their life crisis and traumas but I have frequently found it difficult to switch off. I have often become worrisome and stressed by their stories. This course has equipped me with very practical, accessible and creative methods that have improved my counseling skills further. I now find that counseling is no more a burden but rather a privileged opportunity to help others walk through life, just as I myself walk through this journey called life."
(Foundation Level Graduate 2010)
“The training enabled me to develop an owned and organic therapeutic framework; theoretical and practical. This enables me to work with confidence in cross cultural settings with others suffering emotional damage.”
“From the first encounter through assessment, engagement and follow up I have developed and deepened a diverse palette of practice (art; poems; songs; story telling; drama) that enable and empower clients to discover within themselves and their stories the strengths and will to move beyond their wounds and find healing and hope within.” (Advanced Level Graduate 2010)
Your support is helping make a difference to the lives of children and young people who have often been shattered inside by their experiences.
Thank you for being part of this work to help heal hurts.
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed so far to our project - Many Hands - Build an Arts Therapy Clinic in Cambodia!
We have converted our roof top area at Ragamuffin House into a Healing Arts Therapy space - see attached images and will be beginning the final phase building three therapy rooms in July using the funds that we have raised through Global Giving. This final building project will be completed by October 2010.
In October Ragamuffin House will be opening Cambodia's first Arts Therapy Centre where Arts Therapy will be provided by Cambodian's for vulnerable children, young people and adults. In partnership with 5 key NGO's we will be working with those who have experienced: trafficking and sexual violation, abuse, domestic violence and other forms of violence, eviction and loss of land, bereavement, those who live with a disability, those who live with HIV, addictions to drugs or alcohol.
We will provide images of the new building on completion and further information about the progress of the clinic.
Thank you for making a difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people in Cambodia!
Hand in Hand - The Ragamuffin Partnership Scheme
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.