Over the course of one's lifetime, the boundaries of one's home, work and social environments will shift based on the choices one makes personally and professionally.
For a refugee, personal, professional and social boundaries are often out of their control.
- A refugee may not be able to decide on the country into which they flee.
- Though a refugee may hold an advanced degree in their country of origin, they may not be able to pursue a career in that sector because of the language barrier
- Upon arrival, the location of their new home is often determined by the refugee resettlement agency handling their case.
- A refugee often experiences the loss of social networks, anxiety regarding the uncertainty of finding new connections and the fear of isolation in the new country.
How does BuildaBridge programming seek to combat these at-risk factors and build protective factors among incoming refugee populations?
By providing culturally specific art therapy and therapeutic art-making groups in the community context for homogeneous and mixed refugee population groups. These programs help refugees identify adjustment strategies based on the strengths of their communities in promoting success, strength, recovery and resiliency in a new culture.
Since 2011, BuildaBridge has provided such art groups to over 170 refugees from four countries, assisting them through the arts in acculturating to their new environment and developing healthy boundaries for their personal and professional lives.
Since June 2014, BuildaBridge has served 61 new refugees participating in five different art groups. BuildaBridge artists, through art-making experiences that focus on academic, social, artistic and character development skills, assist refugees in re-building and creating healthy boundaries in their new environment.
Summer attendance June 2014 to present:
Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience women and children’s group: 15
Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience mixed adults: 6
Congolese refugees: 8
Bhutanese refugee elders: 15
REAP (Refugee Employment and Advancement Program): 17