The Red Pencil’s programme aims at improving the physical, mental and emotional well-being of poverty-stricken kids through arts therapy.
(Programme concluded and no longer supported by the Trafigura Foundation)
In El Callao violence and poverty are rife. Growing up there is a real life-challenge: children are witnesses of crime at home and in their communities; they have little to eat; and the absence of positive role models in their family can lead them to join criminal gangs since an early age.
All these conditions impede kids’ healthy and happy development, sowing seeds of desperation and sufferance that in many cases cannot be expressed through words. But arts can touch places that no medicine can reach, opening up a possibility to express feelings beyond the spoken language.
Arts therapy is attractive to children because it is based on arts activities that are familiar to them and address their mental health and psychosocial needs in a way that is non-threatening, fun and engaging. This theory has been largely proved by the work of The Red Pencil, an organisation that has an extensive experience in arts therapy to heal children and families who have been through traumatic life circumstances.
Trafigura Foundation partnered with The Red Pencil to support the kids of Tiempo Fuera, an after-school programme created by Fundación Integracion Comunitaria(FIC). The after-school programme is rolled-out by FIC in the poverty-stricken neighbourhood of El Callao and attended by kids between 5 and 13 years old.
The Red Pencil used arts therapy to help improve the mental and emotional well-being of Tiempo Fuera's kids through the creative process of artistic expression. A certified art therapist spent a month training and equipping staff and volunteers at Tiempo Fuera, and visited the programme throughout the year to provide additional training, consultation and supervision to the personnel. During each visit, the art therapist monitored the implementation of the programme and assessed its impact to better adjust the support to the children’s needs.
The training of the teachers and the constant monitoring and supervising support offered by The Red Pencil will ensure the sustainability of the programme and the possibility to extend its benefits to future cohorts of children attending the after-school programme.