AIDS, war and famine have redefined childhood in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2010, an estimated 40 million African children will have suffered the death of a parent. There are few programs or resources available that enable teachers and health professionals to meet the enormous and growing needs of these traumatized children. Harambee Arts’ programs provide opportunities to understand the long-term social impact of the AIDS pandemic and to explore new strategies that can foster the emotional recovery of traumatized children. The global community’s awareness of the epidemic’s devastating psychological impact on an entire generation of African youth has been slow to develop. It is widely accepted by medical professionals that orphans and vulnerable children need more than mere practical assistance in order to heal and become contributing members of society. The younger the child is who experiences great loss, the less that child is capable of verbalizing her sorrow; without some outlet to do so, few will emerge psychologically intact. Harambee Arts develops and implements cost-effective psycho-social interventions that promote healing of the psychological trauma of devastating loss. Expressive arts provide a non-threatening way for children to tell their stories and begin emotional recovery. The children’s creations ground and organize their thoughts and feelings while communicating their experiences to others. Using accessible and affordable art materials, Ms. Simoneaux trains artists and caregivers how to create a safe environment that can help children externalize their traumatic experiences in a psychologically healthy way. Our principal goal is to foster the development and widespread employment of arts education programs and expressive arts therapy techniques that will improve the lives of traumatized African children.
|Keywords:||Traumatized Children, Expressive Arts, Art Therapy, Sub-Saharan Africa|
Founder/Executive Director, Program Development, Administration, Harambee Arts: Let’s Pull Together, San Rafael, CA, USA
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