‘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: firstname.lastname@example.org