Blog by Sue Wallingford
Katie and Chatti will accompany the 2014 team to Cambodia this May as mentors and supervisors to the students. Both bring a wealth of experience to the team and NCAS-I is very excited to have them!
Katie, a graduate of the Art Therapy program in 2012, was on the first team that went to Cambodia of May 2012. She was instrumental in the creation of NCAS-I offering endless volunteer hours researching and implementing the program in the beginning stages. Katie brought so much enthusiasm to the project from the very start and continued to show support even after she graduated by her participation in the annual Painting Marathons, and Small Resources = Big Possibilities Gala and other NCAS-I events. Katie co-presented along with 3 other alumni and myself on a panel that described our work with trafficked girls in Phnom Penh, Seeds Sown from the Killing Fields: Tending to the Lotus Flower at the 2013 Expressive Arts Therapy Conference in Berkely California.
NCAS-I is very excited for what she brings to this years team. Katie is a long time practitioner of mindfulness meditation. As a Buddhist herself she understands deeply the traditions inherent in this religious practice. Since Cambodia is 95% Buddhist Katie will an invaluable resource to the team in helping us to understand religious traditions practiced there and she will lead us in our sitting practices. As well, Katie is a textile artist with tremendous skill in working with fabrics and many of the materials we use in our art therapy groups in Cambodia. She is coordinating our work with WHADA, helping to create designs along with the students that can then be replicated by the women at WHADA and then sold in the US through fair trade. Katie also brings a great sense of curiosity, creativity, love of life, and compassion. Thanks Katie for joining our team!
Chatti graduated from Naropa’s Art Therapy program in 2010. After graduation she moved to Cambodia, her native country to work as an Art Therapist at an NGO in Phnom Penh. Chatti was born in a Thai refugee camp after her mother and father escaped the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. She spent the first 3 years of her life in the refuge camp before moving to California with her family. Even though she did not grow up in Cambodia many of the traditions of the Cambodian people were instilled in her by her family and Cambodian community surrounding her in California. Chatti spent two years in Phnom Penh working at Ragamuffin, an organization that utilizes the expressive arts for healing the multitude of suffering that exists among the Cambodian people.
Chatti, besides her obvious contributions to the team is also helping us all to learn the Khmer language so we can communicate with the Cambodian people to a small degree. She also understands the Cambodian culture, the trauma endemic in their culture and the social graces that are needed to form respectful relationships. Being that Chatti lived in Phnom Penh for two years the resources she has to bring will be an added bonus. Chatti as a professional photographer will help us to highlight many of the meaningful moments we will have through the lens of her camera. Chatti as a person brings wisdom, humility, gracefulness, and playfulness. Thank you Chatti for joining our team!
We are looking forward to a great trip this year because of these two AND the great team of students that are preparing for this trip. Please stay tuned for their introduction!