Saturday, June 29, 2013

Seventy-three Refugees Served during Year 2

BuildaBridge's Refugee Project is pleased to make the following announcements:

During Year 2 (September 2012 to June 2013), BuildaBridge artists served 73 refugees through a total of 32 art therapy groups.  Burmese children were offered a total of 11 groups; Bhutanese children had 18 groups plus an additional 2 family art-making workshops which included their parents and siblings.

The Sheila Fortune Foundation, based in Boulder, CO, has granted BuildaBridge $3,000 to continue work with these populations during Year 3 of the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative.

The Union Benevolent Association granted BuildaBridge $1,500 to also continue work with the Bhutanese and Burmese populations for a third year.

In the Spring of 2014, BuildaBridge anticipates a third art therapy group engaging an entirely new population of refugees. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

World Refugee Day - June 20

"There are now more than 45 million refugees and internally displaced people the highest level in nearly 20 years. Figures give only a glimpse of this enormous human tragedy. Every day, conflict tears apart the lives of thousands of families. They may be forced to leave loved ones behind or become separated in the chaos of war."  - Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General

Today is World Refugee Day and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has themed this year's day 'Family'.  Families were the focus of BuildaBridge's last three groups in South Philadelpiha this month.  Having worked with on average fifteen Bhutanese children twice per month since September, we wanted to conclude Year 2 with celebrations including their families. 

The three groups, June 10, 17 & 24, all included a time of family collaborative art-making, a Nepalese dinner prepared by Bhutanese mothers, and dances that the children practiced before the group started.  Each of these activities accomplished the goals set forth for the family groups: 1) Engaged the entire family unit in art-making experiences, 2) Offered the families opportunities for personal and familial growth using BuildaBridge’s art as a metaphor for life lessons and 3) Built cohesiveness among families and between families and BuildaBridge artists. Photos and videos of the groups are coming soon.  Photos of the Bhutanese children's celebration on Sunday June 16th can be viewed in the Photo Album.

A final report of BuildaBridge's role within the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative will be available in late July. 

Read the full UNHCR article on World Refugee Day here.