This young artist dreams of becoming a teacher
The children in Retrak Ethiopia’s transitional home in Addis Ababa are having so much fun in our 10-week Creative Therapy program, that they don't realize they're undergoing therapy! Using art, drama and music, the program works to help children overcome past trauma and abuse and gain the confidence to move forward.
In a music therapy session, when listening to music with a slow tempo and in a minor key, one child said “the music reminds me of the feeling of loneliness on the street.” The counselor used this insight to help children share their sad and painful memories of life on the street, which the music brought to the surface. The children were then able to plan how they would leave the street and explore alternative options using their memories as an impetus for change.
During an art therapy session, children “decorated their names” by thinking of an adjective beginning with each letter of their name that could describe them. At the conclusion of the activity, one child said, “I didn’t give a thought to the meaning of my name before, but now I know there is hope in my name.” This realization gives children some positive support when they return home and face challenges.
In a drama session when each child was asked to choose a prop and use it to act out a scene, one child chose a farmer’s hoe and acted out ploughing a field. He said, “I remember, me and my father, we used to go far away from our village for ploughing.” During debriefing the child was able to face the regret he felt about leaving home. Then he was able to plan the process of reintegration and what he wanted to say to his father when he returned home.
For over 20 years Retrak has been working to return street children to their homes and families. Creative Therapy is just one of the ways that Retrak counselors work to help street children heal from their past and embrace their future. Thank you for your continued support of our vital work; we truly couldn't do it without you.
A child decorates his name
Children use art to overcome trauma