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Week one, day one, group one: arts based training for psychosocial support


Art Refuge UK are very pleased to be able to partner with TPO (Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Nepal) and UNICEF to deliver an Arts Based Training for Psychosocial Support to participants who are part of a Department of Women and Children project. This project has been supported by UNICEF and involves 32 women completing a 6-month psychosocial counselling training, and then setting up psychosocial centres in the 14 Districts most affected by the April/May 2015 earthquakes.

Art Refuge UK provides psychological support through art and art therapy to people displaced through conflict, political and religious persecution, trafficking and natural disasters. We have worked in Nepal and India since 2006 with Tibetans in transit from Nepal to India, as well as with the established Tibetan communities in Nepal. Jayne and Naomi have returned to Kathmandu this month to provide further arts-based training within psychological support for local teams working with both refugees and displaced communities following the 2015 earthquakes.

We gathered today, a large group, to engage in a 5 day experiential learning opportunity. It is lovely to have a participant from our last training (Dec 2015) here as a support for this training. The training is mainly being delivered in Nepali this time as not many participants can speak English, so we are using all our Nepali skills, with support from a couple of the organisers with translation.

Today we started by creating our own peg ‘self’ dolls, and making a safe place for them. This was followed by experimenting with dry materials; then creating and sharing about images of the Districts where the psychosocial counsellors are working (and living). Participants were very keen to share and as well as pride in their areas, there was some sharing about their work and local challenges. After our afternoon break we came back to some playing with paint and mixed crayon/paint creations. A colourful end to the day.

Everyone had worked hard and was tired, but the feedback at the end of the day was very positive and included: reflecting memories of childhood, new ways of expressing that did not require words, a surprise in the possibility of ‘free’ art (where the images were not directed), and an overall sense of fun and enjoyment in the art-making process. A good start to the week and we’ll check back in at the end of week one…

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