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Since 2012, The Red Pencil has embarked on various humanitarian missions in Asia and now in Europe and the Middle East. The Art Therapy Response Teams (ART) consists of art, music and dance therapists from all over the world, who collaborate with international organisations to attend to those facing natural disasters, conflict zones and overwhelming situations.
ART had its maiden trip to Cambodia in September 2012, attending to beneficiaries at a public hospital. Thereafter, the humanitarian missions expanded to assist beneficiaries who had survived but was nevertheless traumatized by natural disasters such as the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Sichuan earthquake in China and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Currently, ART further extends its help to beneficiaries who have suffered from domestic violence, human trafficking and other forms of abuse that are prevalent in minority or underprivileged groups.
For every new mission, The Red Pencil is looking for art, music and dance therapists to facilitate its intervention, which includes taking care of the beneficiaries and also teaching Visual Journaling and a Train the Trainer session for the organisation staff. If you are interested to participate in our next humanitarian missions, please send us your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. The 3-step programme
For a humanitarian mission to be thoroughly effective and sustainable, a 3-step programme is carried out over the course of one year. The same team of art therapists visits the targeted countries in to attend to the same beneficiaries thrice, so as to provide long-term and meaningful support. Each trip lasts for around 10 days, with a period of 3-6 months between two trips.
The first trip focuses on cultivating the relationship between the therapist and beneficiary through Arts Therapy sessions, while at the same time Visual Journal and Train the Trainer programmes are taught to the caregivers of these beneficiaries. The second trip involves following up with the beneficiaries and caregivers, addressing deeper issues with them where necessary. The last trip requires the art therapists to bring closure to the therapy sessions and leaving behind sufficient art materials and resources for the beneficiaries to carry on their own Visual Diary and healing processes.
2. Visual Journal
The Visual Journal is a tool that requires beneficiaries to draw something daily in a journal to express and capture their innermost thoughts and emotions. It promotes self-insight, enabling beneficiaries to understand and develop their own coping mechanisms through art after the Arts Therapy process is complete.
3. Train the Trainer
The Train the Trainers programme equips caregivers of the beneficiaries with basic Arts Therapy skills so that they can encourage and facilitate the process of therapeutic art after the art therapists have finished the 3-step programme with them. By inculcating therapeutic art techniques in their daily lives to cope with their situations, like a “multiplier effect”, beneficiaries can continue to experience the benefits of Arts Therapy.