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.
May 26, 2016

Lotus - Empowering Young Women in Cambodia

“Lotus”

Ragamuffin Cambodia ‘Be Yourself’ Arts Therapy Service for Vulnerable Young Women

‘Be yourself’ project was established in 2012 as the fist Cambodian led Arts Therapy Project within Ragamuffin Cambodia. The aim of this project is to bring healing, nurturing, honoring, and celebrating the personal capacity, uniqueness, and self-care. The project is committed to providing a creative healing process for individuals and groups of young people and adults who have suffered from trauma and psychological challenges, in order to discover their essence of self, connectedness, growth, and to lead a good quality of life and relationships. Our project strongly believes in the power of self-connectedness that allows the young people to be themselves, to transform and celebrate their life, and other people. So far, our work in Cambodia, we have been working with many young people who have been suffering with psychological and physical trauma, attachment issue, chronic disease, poverty, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, and other types of abuse. Through out our work, we have learnt that there have been a significance lack of mental, spiritual and physical health care and support that caused by social stigma, domestic violence, and poverty in their communities. As a result, they found themselves very disempowered, worthless, and invisible in society.

It is changing times in Cambodia as there is a gradual move from residential care structures to community led initiatives for children and young people. Transitions are complex and have revealed a fundamental need for psychological support and creative approaches to building resillience. The Therapy team have been working with young women in such transition through the provision of individual and group arts therapy sessions. As a result of these sessions the team have been designing a training programme in order to provide a more intensive programme of support. The team have been engaged in intial sessions with individuals, assessment and liasion with local NGO's and curriculum design to enable the launch of the next phase.

For this new group, our project aims to provide the opportunity to 30 young women to receive in depth therapeutic care and support in collaboration with local NGO's in Cambodia for recruiting and referring clients.

Project: ‘Lotus’ A 12 week therapeutic course to empower young vulnerable women in Cambodia.

Aims: This project aims to redeem and develop their inner strength, discover positive resources for life, and build relationships to achieve the following:

  • To empower these young women to celebrate their inner strengths and life
  • To increase the self-esteem, self-discovery, and self-awareness
  • To have safe space and opportunity to express feelings in creative way with therapeutic space
  • To discover hopes and resources (better coping mechanism)
  • To nature the quality of life and to redeem the self-resilience and personal development

The reasons why this training will be an important transition for the girls because most of girls we have been working with have been through so much difficulties in their lives such as abandonment since childhood, discrimination, bullying, sexual abused, health issue, and complex attachment problem. All these problems have result both social and self-stigma in their life and have impacted in varies ways on both inter and intra personal relationship, well-being, self- esteem, confident, and quality of life. For example, some of girls were unable to take on or do well in their vocational training or at school though they were given the opportunity to be on the course due to issue of low self esteem and low-confident to learn or take on new things. Most of them have continued to lead their lives vulnerably or fail to achieve their goal after leaving their NGOs.


Throughout this special program, we do hope that it will give them the opportunity to bring remarkable changes into their life by helping them to discover their strengths, empower themselves, to bring more self awareness, to better nurture their lives, restore self-confidence, and redeem from their emotional wound that enable them to pass their support toward others. We believe that “when a person can find light within herself, she will be stronger and more resillient. Then they can also become the light for others or can help other people to find their light and hope too”.

Feb 24, 2016

Beauty In The Midst of Chaos

Beauty In the Midst of Chaos 

Our Arts Therapy Clinic Team in Cambodia work with those who live in or have experienced situations of chaos from trafficking, domestic violence and abuse to being diagnosed with HIV or loosing a parent. Arts Therapy works towards enabling those in chaos to channel their experience into creativity and so discover their inner resources and resilience that they need to cope with situations that they so very often are unable to change. 

Ragamuffin provided a three-day Arts Therapy continuing professional development training for arts therapists, counsellors, social workers and professionals who support vulnerable people groups.

There are so many events in life we have little control over; these events take their course for better, for worse. When things seem to fall apart what place does Creative Therapy have in the midst of internal and external chaos? This training taught fundamental principles of Arts Therapy in addressing the deeply unsettling issues in our lives and our world. 

 "Working with deaf people is very difficult, Arts Therapy is a very effective approach to help them engage and express their inner world... they often feel so victimized by society, what I have learnt will help me to support them to be deeply heard, valued and respected" (Social Worker - course participant)

"The workshop of Creative Art Therapy helped me to step into and deal with chaos by using myself as artist. It has made me know more clearly about myself.  It has helped me face chaos and not avoid it. Now I really know more about the beauty of chaos and how to deal with it in my own life and especially how to deal with the very vulnerable children I support as a school counsellor. I feel that Art therapy is medicine for these children who live with so much violence, abuse and poverty". 

"The workshop showed me how to see the darkness of people around me. I have learnt how Arts Therapy can deal with mental health as well as depression, trauma, stress, reduce anger, reduce abusive behavior and so on. I will use this experience to help the children I work with and support". (School Counsellor - course participant)

"I know where my chaos is, how to deal with it, accept it and use it as for transformation. I have really discovered that chaos is my gift that has made me into the strong woman I am today and enables me to work with children in the most difficult circumstances and situations of suffering". (Counsellor - course participant) 

Ragamuffin continues to provide its Arts Therapy Service for children in crisis. The following is a statement from our senior Arts Therapist reflecting on her work with children who live with HIV:

"Throughout my therapeutic work this year, I have been continuing working with young orphans who have had HIV since they were born. After several sessions of psychological therapy with creative arts therapy, they have had significance improvement in their stress management skills, self-care, problem solving ability, and have become more emotionally stable in their daily life even though they continue to live with the same chaotic life situation, with chronic illness and social stigma. They found Arts Therapy to be the sacred medicine to heal their broken hearts, to discover their soul, and build a new relationship with themselves physically. As a result they have found new hope and courage to move on in life.

We would like to thank very much for all our sponsors through global giving and the global giving team for all your generous support in helping these young vulnerable people. Your support really means so much to them it helps them to find new chapter in their life and to create an inspirational history on this earth that will inspire many other vulnerable people in Cambodia to learn about hope and resilience in the midst of chaos." (Serey Samchet - Arts Therapist)

Thank you from Ragamuffin Cambodia!!!

Dec 1, 2015

Who Wins - Conflict Mediation Arts Therapy

Who Wins? Conflict Mediation & Arts Therapy
Who Wins? Conflict Mediation & Arts Therapy

‘WHO WINS Creative Arts Therapy and its Application to Conflict Mediation is a Ragamuffin training programme for counsellors, social workers and educators who work with children adolescents and families in conflict in Cambodia.

Why do we argue and fight? Why do we attack and blame each other? Whether it be in the kitchen, at home or on the world stage. Is winning all that really matters to us? And if we win... what have we also lost in the process? There are never any winners whilst there is conflict - there is only pain.

What lies behind conflict? What needs unmet? What wound unattended? What pain unseen? What injustice ignored?

In this workshop, we used applied Creative Arts Therapy techniques, and experienced the battle ground from both sides. Our task: to make peace. A peace that makes reconciliation a reality. A peace whose hallmarks are the priceless qualities of love, humility, grace and forgiveness. Is this not worth more than inflicting further pain?

Most of us will of course agree. And most of us are in conflict with someone or something somewhere. This workshop was for everyone in conflict, and for the peacemakers.

Participants attending were all professionals working in the fields of counselling and therapy, social work, education and development with populations experiening domestic violence, abuse, trafficking and complex behavioural issues.

It was a powerful process to engage and equip those responsible for the care of those in conflict and crisis. We began by creating a mandala peace garden, creating and exchanging gifts of peace for each other. A social worker shared how this inspired him to realise the interconnectedness of peacemaking - “If I am not at peace you cannot be at peace.” We began to explore how the ambiance in and around oneself can create an atmosphere of peace and the potential for reconciliation.

“This is a whole new experience, the creative exploration is bringing us closer together, as we gave each other symbol of peace we were practicing peacemaking, doing it together, we can make it so”. “Giving a gift of peace meant so much as I saw how the peace of one creates peace for another" (participants).

Peace bridges.

“Conflict is like a virus – the need for power for example, can become a disease an outbreak. People need help at such times … some conflicts are very quiet, like a silence, some conflicts people can cry for help. “Suffering and conflict affects so many people.” “The world is full of conflict and our worlds are full of conflicts here in Cambodia” (participants).

It starts with me

“Peace and reconciliation is on my mind a lot, it makes me feel so emotional, I have such deep feelings and now I am asking myself could I be the person who helps to end this conflict rather than contribute to it?” (Cambodian therapist)

“I have a wish that I really want to bring peace and not add to the conflict. Those who embody peace are the antidote to violence – they do not engage in violent acts they engage in acts of peace – and do not react to threat or attack save with love" (Cambodian Social Worker).

To be a peacemaker we must be at peace within ourselves first, to have identified our own schemas, to mediate our own wounds and recognize our propensity to act those out and so impact others (wounds wound). To become reconciled to those things that have hurt us, those things we avoid within that have held power over us, so as to be empowered to be peace in the storm, so that we will not avoid, nor shy away from conflict but neither will we contribute to it, we will be peace in the storm not because of fear but because of love and self-empowerment, we will diffuse it and exemplify the qualities of peace.

Compassion can mean co-suffering. When we hurt another we hurt ourselves, everything and everyone’s connected all part of a whole interactive dynamic.

Through psychodrama and mediation techniques the group were introduced to and given opportunity to learn to practice the art of conflict mediation.

From dealing with everyday conflicts with young people to looking at domestic violence and complex inner conflicts the group were more equipped to discover the complexity of a mediation process in action and how to apply this into their own lives and work.

 “Everyone needs to go on this training – it is training for life – we all need to learn how to do this, we can all contribute to making peace”

 
   

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