In an attempt to broaden the influence of Lefika La Phodiso, the organisation sent two of its local Community Art Counsellors, Humbu Nsenga and Alisa Ray, to Sri lanka, a country devastated by a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. Sri lanka also experienced major destruction in the 2004 Tsunami.
At Ilavalai St Henrician school for boys, a Catholic church headed by father Godfrey Omi, Lefika La Phodiso staff proudly hosted a two week monitoring and evaluation practical and needs assessment of physical, mental and emotional concerns of children. We were also involved in hosting a children’s arts programmes and an exhibition, as well as provided facilitation and asistance in the creation of a school mural and daily art activities. These activities involved an after school recycle club group (using everyday items that could be considered ‘trash’ and incorporating them into art projects) with over 250 children aged between 7 -12 years old.
It was a collaborative effort between ArtAction (a New York based art education summer camp) who have previously worked in Sri Lanka, art therapy students from the University of Hertfortshire in the United Kingdom and Lefika La Phodiso.
With Father Godfrey at the helm, this collaborative outreach programme aimed at assisting the community of Jaffna, as well as providing all involved parties with valuable networking, cross continental ideas and experience sharing opportunities.
Lefika is expanding its international presence in the art therapy and counselling arena and this was a start of many future collaborative projects that aim to support the well-being of children worldwide in the interests of the growth of our global community.
Both Alisa and Humbu gained a lot from the experience. For Alisa “It was a wonderful dream, a celebration of art making by interested, passionate children and facilitators from 4 continents”. And for Humbu “This experience reaffirmed my personal appreciation of the art making processes transcending borders. Witnessing the human experience in a creative manner despite circumstances has been an honour, as well as a humbling opportunity”.