by Marissa Grasmick
Hello friends, family, and beloved followers of NCAS-I, we greatly appreciate your support. Thanks for reading the blog!
Today the NCAS-I crew had the opportunity to have a meeting with the founders and owners of Ragamuffin. Started in 1999 in the UK, Ragamuffin’s mission statement is: “The Ragamuffin Project is committed to the relief of emotional pain and psychological damage in children and adults. We work together with those who bring such relief to people who suffer around the world.” Ragamuffin now has locations in the UK, Pan Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand), Russia, Peru, and the one we visited today in Cambodia.
Ragamuffin offers creative arts therapies (art, dance, music, and more) to children and adults in the form of individual sessions, group sessions, and an open community art studio, similar to the style and mentality of Naropa’s community art studio in Boulder, CO.
We arrived at Ragamuffin in the usual mode of transportation, a Tuk Tuk. We were warmly greeted by Carrie (one of the founders who is an Integrative Arts Therapist) and invited in. The other founder is Kit, a registered art therapist who specializes in drama therapy. Carrie gave us a tour of the Ragamuffin house, which is like steeping into another world. Utilizing the natural world, the space felt open and organic, while at the same time, was reminiscent of an avant garde art ship. Nestled in an alley in the busy city, this unique setting was surrounded with jungle-like trees that held ready-to-eat Jackfruit and beautiful flowers.
We all sat in a circle and began discussing our work, or rather, our passionate mission. We are a room of art therapists, some of us from Boulder, CO, some natives of Cambodia, and Carrie and Kit (the founders) from the UK. Yet we all share a similar passion, we are professionals who deeply desire to use our education to benefit the well-being of the Cambodian people. The discussion that took place was beyond inspiring, it was like being with family, we all spoke the same language of art, of therapy, of the need for creative expression, and of the obstacles that stand in the way. There was an electric feeling in the room, one of heart and passion that is nearly indescribable.
We plan to meet with Ragamuffin again to further discuss the details of what a collaboration between Ragamuffin and NCAS-I might look like down the road. For now, all we can say is that these are amazing people that are pouring out there time, resources and most importantly, their hearts, to work therapeutically with children and adults in the surrounding area.
Ragamuffin runs mostly off of grants and sponsors, and as Kit said it best during our meeting, the need for creative arts therapy is off the charts and the resources are very limited. Despite this being an important need for the area, the money just isn’t available and donors are being required to cut funds due to economic hardship.
If you are interested in giving to the Ragamuffin project, and to learn more about this renegade project, please visit their informative website at www.ragamuffinproject.org.
With much love and gratitude,