Ragamuffin Cambodia Projects Update
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. Ragamuffin International also supervises and overseas a number of projects including:
Be-Yourself Project is a Cambodian led service currently working with children and adolencents who have survived acid attacks, are caught up in domestic violence, abuse and land evictions. Here is a summary of our work with Acid Attack survivors:
‘I See You’ Creative Arts Therapy for Acid Attack Survivors, Staff Capacity Building and Therapeutic Support.
The areas of Psychological treatment, staff capacity and care have been identified as critical areas where there are gaps in services and capacity for survivors of acid attacks in Cambodia. Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) and Ragamuffin have been exploring a project that will provide a therapeutic programme to aid the recovery of acid burn survivors and their families.
Acid attacks are a pre-meditated form of violence that leaves survivors physically, socially and emotionally and psychologically scarred. Through a process of group and individual creative arts therapy the impact on the children has been powerful as said in their own words below:
“I feel so happy to be here as it is my first time in life to feel loved and belong to the group. So far, I do not have friends to play with me as they said ‘my face is like a monster’ and this group makes me feel that I am a child who deserves to play and to be friends with other children” (Quote from one of the children in the group)
“Though I am just a thirteen year old child who found myself helpless to change problem in my family, I believe if I could be strong, my parents might begin to be strong too. ” (Quote from one of the children in the group)
The group found this journey full of profound learning and sharing experiences. They felt they could get support and discover strength from other children in the group. They began to see positive changes and reported a decrease of their feelings of distress and disturbance and began to report how they were better able to manage everyday life.
“Before I came to this workshop, I got a lot of nightmares. Now, I noticed that there is no nightmare after I found my inner helper in a session we did and a safe place with the therapist and at special Ragamuffin house” (Quote from one of the children in the group)
The group has begun to find the resilience through their time together. Being together has given the opportunity for each kid to be connected with each other, naturally learn and improve socialization skill, exchange positive communication, and receiving group support which resulted in self-healing and personal development.
“I feel so moved to see how much the children have bloomed and grown since they attended these sessions, the parents can't stop talking about it too” (Quote from CASC’s staff)
Songkites www.songkites.com - is a new programme to inspire creative songwriting and leadership in Cambodian young people. This exciting new initiative is the fist of its kind in Cambodia and is 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. 13 partcipants have attended group and individual workshops and sessions, the programme has a strong therapeutic core to help channel the expression of their life experiences into songwriting and music. A professional recording studio now based at Ragamuffin run by Euan Gray means these songs have been recorded and musically developed to a high standard. The songkite participants are about to launch their new original music in early 2014 to be featured on a special BBC movie in Cambodia, amongst other excting live opportunities.
'Songkites if my first ever musical family, its an unbelievable experience!"
"I have realised how powerful music is to heal and to express myself make sense of all the hurt and making this music, it makes me feel different, stronger and more able to face life's challenges"
"Songkites has made me feel so much more confident and able to express who I really am, I'm not afriad to be myself anymore...I think so many young people in Cambodia need this kind of programme for the future of this country"
(Quotes from Songkite participants 2013)
We are hoping to run another season of Songkites in 2014 and continue to develop the leadership and mentoring skills of this years participants. Watch this space and please contact us if you want to be more involved.
As the end of year draws to a close there is much to celebrate as Ragamuffin continues to seek to make healing and creative opportunities for people to restore or bring back light into their lives and so impact those around them. Every week in Ragamuffin boathouse there are many examples of how this is happening with children and adults. To celebrate and honour this year we are holding a special event to close this season:
Life-Creative - Festival of Lights on the 14th December brings together Cambodian's and International guests in a collaborative creative experience on the theme of light and the impact that it makes in our lives, our families, communities and the world around us.
How you are making a difference?
You become part of creating this light too...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 - firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.