Arts Aftercare is about beauty and healing through the arts. This innovative team, founded by Curtis & Grace Romjue and Brian Howe produces the Healing Arts Toolkit, and trains human trafficking aftercare groups how to use the toolkit to help restore life and health in survivors of human trafficking. Eric Becker traveled to the Philippines with Arts Aftercare to video how they put the Healing Arts Toolkit into practice with several aftercare organizations working there.
After 48 hours of brush strokes completed by Naropa faculty, students, friends, donors, and the greater community, the final incarnations of the Mandalas are here to stay. Through generous support from our community, we have reached $21,988, which will send the 2014 art therapy team to Cambodia. Through this service-learning project, we will be working with our partner organizations primarily serving women and children who have been sex-trafficked. This is an opportunity for us to share trauma-informed art therapy practices to an under-served population in Cambodia while learning about this beautiful culture. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in turning this dream in to a reality! We appreciate each and every one of you so much.
Please take a moment to see the final Mandalas created by each team and come to the Paramita Campus at Naropa to see these gorgeous 7′X7′ paintings that are infused with layers of creative expression from all of our painters!
The Helping Hands:
The Creative Crusaders:
Also, any donation is accepted! Thank you all so very much for your continued support for NCAS-I and those who help make this trip happen each year. We are grateful.
Thank you DAILY CAMERA for this awesome video! Stay tuned for the completed pieces. There is still time to donate.
Thursday, November 7,2013
Painting a path to Cambodia
Art therapists raise funds, awareness on sex trafficking
For 48 hours straight, a paintbrush will be on canvas at the Naropa Community Art Studio. The two-day painting marathon, which begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, is to raise money to support the Naropa Community Art Studio-International in its third annual trip to Cambodia to practice art therapy with survivors of sex trafficking.
Art therapy students and their supporters will paint on three canvases, one for each of three teams, earning pledges for every hour they paint. At the end of the event, they should have completed three paintings of mandalas, a Sanskirt term for “sacred circle” used to describe a meditation aid used by Buddhists and Hindus across Asia, to be auctioned.
The event’s aim is to both raise funds to support that trip and build community awareness on the ongoing issue of sex trafficking.
In May 2014, Sue Wallingford, assistant professor at Naropa University’s art therapy program and faculty advisor of the Naropa Community Art Studio- International, and a group of art therapy students — some of whom applied to the university’s art therapy master’s degree with an eye on this program — will travel to Cambodia to volunteer with nongovernmental organizations that serve survivors of sex trafficking and domestic violence.
The trip is an opportunity to bring sex trafficking survivors and the local staff working with them, the art therapy techniques that can teach the kind of skills often stripped through trauma, skills like confidence, problem solving and self-care. But it’s also a chance for art therapy students to put themselves to the test.
“This is truly a service learning project — there’s equal weight given to both,” Wallingford says. “It’s equally important that the students learn so much about the culture, how to treat people of a different culture, but first and foremost, how they show up for something like that.”
Art therapy master’s student Michelle Bosco noticed the Cambodia program when she was applying to Naropa, and has attended symposiums on sex trafficking and focused her academic work on survivors of trauma to prepare. She’s even participated in previous painting marathons. This year, she’ll be painting for her own way to Cambodia.
“I feel like I’m just really, fully into this project,” says Bosco. “I really just believe in it and what it’s done after hearing stories from Sue and other students on what art can do and how it can heal.”
“I think to go somewhere and really just be there, be in this discomfort,” Bosco says. “Even though it will be extremely challenging … I’d like to take the risk and see what’s there.”
The chance to go to Cambodia will force these students to dig into the fundamental abilities of being present to support someone on his or her journey, whether you can speak the same language or really comprehend that person’s experience of violence and poverty.
“We’ll be learning not just to be better therapists, but better people,” says Kelsey Butler, also an art therapy student at Naropa.
Like so many things in the hands of a community of people, perhaps particularly therapists, the canvases are expected to transform radically over the course of the 48-hour painting marathon.
“Trust the process,” says Wallingford, who has watched over the course of two previous painting marathons how canvases can go from chaos to form to chaos and back to form again.
“Everybody’s mark is still there, even though it might be underneath other marks,” she says. “It’s trusting that we will be able to offer something useful … and that the relationship between human beings is powerful enough we can create something.”
The NCAS-I 48-Hour Painting Marathon beings at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, and runs until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Nalanda Campus, 6287 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. The public is welcome between 8 a.m. and midnight each day. Shifts are still open and can be signed up for by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be made at www.crowdrise.com/NCAS-IPaintingMarathon2013.
Please enjoy our video and JOIN US
November 8-10 for
Canvases for Cambodia: The 48-hour Painting Marathon
Public hours 8am-12 midnight
All abilities welcome, contact us at ncas-i@naropa for special accommodations
or donate at http://www.crowdrise.com/NCAS-IPaintingMarathon2013
An important piece of the service-learning trip to Cambodia involves fundraising through the annual Painting Marathon. This year, the marathon, titled “Canvases for Cambodia”, has three teams including: The Creative Crusaders, The Sunbeams, and The Helping Hands. Three canvases will be painted over the course of 48 hours to create distinct mandalas. Sponsors support students by donating to each team as they paint. This project serves to bring awareness to the service-learning trip, to the reality of sex-trafficking in Cambodia, and to build community support and connection.
Sanskrit for “sacred circle,” the mandala has represented a mystical symbol of the universe used primarily as a Buddhist or Hindu aid to meditation (Dellios, 2003). An important part of Cambodian culture, the mandala represents, in this context, the coming together of community. This is symbolized in the painters coming together to support this project, as well as the larger connection to a global community striving for social justice. Come join us in connecting to the world through art and community. Check out this years intentions from each team! Follow the links to learn more about each team and how to be involved with them.
Introducing the Teams and their Intentions:
The Creative Crusaders: Resilience, Empowerment, and Possibility
Take a moment to explore the service-learning trip map. Each destination offers a unique opportunity to connect with our partners there and the culture. Follow the links to learn more about each partner organization.
The journey through Cambodia begins in Siem Reap, where a settling-in process takes place. Acclimating to the culture, learning basic Khmer for communication, and becoming educated on cultural norms is an important first step in the learning experience. After being educated in the United States on Cambodian culture and history, students now have the opportunity to experience the culture first hand by learning through contact.
Angkor Wat, first a Hindu then Buddhist temple, is the largest religious monument in the world (whc.unesco.org). It has become a symbol Cambodia. This is also one of the largest tourist destinations there. Time is spent to reflect at this exquisitely serene temple.
One of our partner organizations, Anjali House, is also located in Siem Reap. They work with Cambodian street children to provide opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them. Students begin their process of serving the community here.
Phnom Penh becomes the next destination. The Killing Fields, where it is estimated that 2 million people died, holds a painful reality that is alive in the world. Emily Wilson, a current 3rd year Art Therapy student, eloquently describes an experience in her blog where she comes in contact with this reality. Ragamuffin, an organization dedicated to bringing creative arts therapies to the world, also becomes a highlight of this trip. Their beautiful space provides an opportunity to experience how creative art therapies can aid in the healing process.
Sisiphon is home to our newest collaborative organization, the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC). This addition has become a favorite destination of many students who wish to connect with the women in crisis using Art Therapy. Please keep in touch for upcoming blog’s about this organization!
The journey ends in the Kep Province where NCAS-I has partnered with WHADA (Women’s Handicraft and Development Association) to create products that can be sold in the United States. All of the income goes directly to the women who make these products.
Our Journey continues as each evolution takes place. We are excited to share this adventure with you as we learn more about the world and ourselves through service-learning. The richness and resiliency alive within the Cambodian culture is evident in the stories shared by students who have courageously taken this trek to connect to our global community. The 2014 crew prepares to continue this tradition and build upon the relationships cultivated over the last few years.
It is wonderful to share our journey with you, our community of readers and lovers of the world. Thank you for the support.
Anjali house, an NCAS-I partner, is a French and Cambodian-founded non-profit organization providing free food, healthcare and education to under-privileged street kids and their families in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Anjali House works to give childhood back to Cambodian children. Children have the right to good health, food, clean water and an education; basic items that many children in Cambodia do not have access to. Anjali House explains some of the specific ways they supports this mission:
Every day we ensure the children receive two nutritious meals, consisting of vegetables, meat and rice. We also provide filtered water for the children to drink. We are continually looking for new donors to support this program. To encourage families to allow children to attend, and to help replace income lost because the children are no longer working, we provide 3 kg of rice to each of the families we work with. This basic economic incentive is crucial due to levels of poverty within families and ensures their basic food needs are met.
Children enjoying a meal at Anjali House:
Anjali House supports the health of Cambodian children by supporting their hygiene:
Due to the lack of clean water and the constraints of poverty, prior to the establishment of Anjali House many of our children had never used soap or brushed their teeth. Now every day the children bathe in clean running water with soap and shampoo, brush their teeth and clean their clothes. We supplement these resources with on-going education as to the importance of personal hygiene in preventing health problems.
With emergency grants and loans for parents who have no savings or collateral we have supported everything from cancer treatment and funeral expenses to care for broken limbs and motor injuries. Not providing these services would seriously impact not only on their health but also their ability to attend school and succeed as students.
Anjali House first registered the children at local public schools, provided them with school uniforms and all the necessary books, stationery and equipment for their studies. School attendance and performance is monitored through our social workers. School support is vital to ensure Anjali children have the opportunity to attend school regularly without any pressure to earn.
Anjali House offers its own English classes, which are led by Khmer staff, giving Cambodian children positive role models of their own culture, and making them able to get jobs in the future which require foreign language skills.
And the Arts:
Anjali’s arts workshops include theater, animation, dance, music and filmmaking. The arts offered at Anjali House support the belief shared by Anjali and NCAS-I in the power of artistic expression as a tool for building self-pride and an increased awareness of inherent capabilities.
Check out the Anjali house store, where you can directly help children by purchasing education materials, meals, and other items much needed by the children.
Anjali House employees are a valued part of the organization. Meet Pheak Ean, a Cambodian woman who is an important part of Anjali House. She works for the organization, and her five children are a part of Anjali programs. Pheak Ean says,
“I am 29. I am working at Anjali as a laundress. I like my job very much because it’s a regular job. I was a vegetable seller at the market. It was really hard, I had to grow vegetables with little kids in my arms. I could only make very small profit just enough to eat day by day. Now my life is so different.”
James Huffman, a third year in the Naropa University Art Therapy program, traveled to Cambodia with NCAS-I last May. Here is a small piece of his account of the experience:
What kind of work did the NCAS-I do with Anjali House when they visited Cambodia?
At Anjali House, NCAS-I worked with the morning and afternoon sessions of children to create toys for a sand tray, which we brought and donated. We had several different rooms, which the children rotated through, each room creating different things for the sand tray such as houses, people, animals, food, fences, and vehicles. We then ended each session using the sand tray to tell a story with the things that were created with the kids.
Anjali children with their new sand tray:
How did NCAS-I contribute to the Anjali house mission of helping Cambodian children to have a childhood?
Hopefully the sand tray will enrich their school experience by adding another outlet for creativity and storytelling. Also, in my experience, Cambodian children do not have access to many different art materials. A day spent making art, which can continue to foster creativity, is a valuable contribution to any childhood. There were also many smiles throughout the day. Childhood should have many happy days and new experiences.
How do you feel Anjali house helps to empower Cambodian children?
Anjali House helps empower Cambodian children in many more ways than I am aware of given the brevity of our stay, but these are some of the ways that stood out to me.
Anjali House provides rice to the families of the children enrolled with them. This in part provides motivation for the families to keep their kids in school, instead of working on the streets where they could be helping support the family. I believe it also communicates to the parents and children that their education is valuable.
Anjali House also provides free healthcare to the children. I believe this communicates to the children that they are important, and it is important that they feel good. I imagine many Cambodians living in poverty have to make hard financial choices between their children’s health problems and the greater financial needs of their families. By providing free healthcare, Anjali House tells the children that their health does not need to come second.
The quality of education provided would also be very empowering to the children. Many of the more prosperous businesses in Cambodia are supported by tourism, and require their employees to speak English. Anjali House provides children with the education needed to attain these higher paying jobs.
Take a look at Danielle Rifkin’s NCAS-I blog post on her experiences with Anjali House.
James and Danielle pictured here:
Meet Suman Tutti, an 11 year old girl from India who was tricked into leaving her home with the promise of a way to support her family as well as a good education. Instead of a job and schooling, Suman Tutti was sold to a human trafficking ring for $24.
Tutti wound up working as a maid against her will; she was kept locked in a basement room and was sexually assaulted. Thankfully, Tutti was able to escape her captors and made it back home to her family. Many young girls are not so lucky, and those who are, are often not accepted back into their families; they are considered to be contaminated once sexually violated.
Girls like Suman Tutti are in desperate need of help. NCAS-I partner Lotus Outreach is dedicated to doing just that. Lotus Outreach works with more than 30,000 at risk women and children in India and Cambodia, helping them get access to healthcare, education, and more opportunity. Join us, and organizations like Lotus Outreach, in our efforts to support girls like Suman Tutti and our dream of global social justice.
For a full article in India Ink, please see the link here.
Kumar, Raksha. (2013, September 23). Human trafficking continues to ravage Jharkhand. India Ink. Retrieved from http://india.blogs.nytimes.com.
Lotus Outreach (2012) website lotusoutreach.org