NCAS-I is proud to introduce our newest members to the 2014 team, Katherine Hanczaryk and Chatti Phal Brown!

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!

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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!

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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!

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NCAS-I Team Ready to go to Cambodia

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After organizing, re-organizing, weighing and packing nearly 200 pounds of art supplies, tending to last minute details, and checking the last thing on our list, we are ready to begin our journey to Cambodia!  We have a full agenda ahead, partnering with several different NGO’s in 4 different cities in Cambodia.  We will blog as we go along, so please stay posted as we tell of our adventures.  Here is a rough schedule of our trip.

May 22 – 28  – Siem Reap – while there we will be visiting Angkor Wat, getting lessons in Khmer and working with Anjali House, a non-profit organisation providing free food, healthcare and education to under-privileged street kids and their families in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  We will be making a sand tray and miniatures with them.

May 28 – 31 – We will be on the Thai Cambodia border working with Lotus and the CWCC Safe Shelter, a counseling and re-integration program with women and children survivors of the sex trafficking industry.  We will be working with them for 3 intense days offering training to the clinical team about trauma informed art therapy and doing groups with the girls.  We will be making worry dolls, hope garlands, treasure boxes, mandalas, eye pillows, and much more.

June 1- 7 –  Phnom Penh – On the 1st we will board a bus and travel to Phnom Penh where we will visit the killing fields, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and other sites.  We will spend time with Carrie Herbert, an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, qualified Trainer and supervisor and Director of the Arts Therapy Services for The Ragamuffin Project.  Carrie will provide supervision and educate the team about the expressive arts in Cambodia.  We will also visit with Arn Chorn Pond, founder of Cambodian Living Arts, and a Cambodian-American refugee having survived the Khmer Rouge genocide, at his lovely home in a small province outside of Phnom Penh.

June 8 – 15 – Kep – In Kep we will be staying at The Vine Retreat, and organic farm and retreat center where we will be spending time together integrating all we have learned, sitting together and making plenty of art.  We will also spend 3 days with a women’s handicraft and development association WHADA, making handicrafts to bring back to the states for sale, with all proceeds going back to this women’s organisation.

And much much more in between.  We will be posting often, sharing lots of stories and pictures!  Thank you so much for your support as we experience good times, exciting times and some hard and difficult moments too.

Until we return…… love to you!