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A Diaspora of Hope and Healing Diaspora of Hope began as a one-week camp in 2008 that engaged local and global artists collaboratively to bring hope and healing to children through therapeutic art-making in the toughest places of the world. This included children’s programs in refugee camps, informal settlements, orphanages, and other places where children are suffering from trauma as a result of extreme poverty, violence, or catastrophe. BuildaBridge began forming alliances with local organizations by providing them with the necessary training to serve the most vulnerable children in a crosscultural context. Using a Hope curriculum developed from extensive research on hope building, DOH supports local community organizations with sustainability and capacity building.  Diaspora of Hope has been a catalytic event to stimulate long-term work with children and communities in the US and abroad.

MAGIRA ROSS AND CAMILLE EDWARDS TRAVEL TO HAITI. Here, Magi Ross poses with children at the Louis Peirot School in Haiti where BuildaBridge has held training and arts camps

First Time to Draw BuildaBridge was invited by Women in War Zones to provide arts-based psycho-social intervention with their WAMU Project in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 19-24, 2011. The focus of the project was to 1) train social workers and counselors related to WAMU and Panzi Hospital in

ARTISTS ON CALL Waiting in the Kigali bus station for the 6 hour ride to the Congo border. Artists on call pack light and are ready to adapt to local situations.

arts-based trauma intervention, and 2) provide arts-based therapeutic experiences to women with HIV/AIDS, those recovering from fistula surgery and from sexual violence of rape. [In the photo above, Kaylie Sauter helps women draw for the first time.] (cont.pg2)

NANCY PEREZ (fGuatemala) guides a class in Nicaragua where she assisted Vivian Nix-Early at the Nehemiah Center. Nineteen teaching artists were trained in Art as Metaphor.


First photographs: Learning to hold a camera

Who: Artists on Call (AOC) are teaching artists and creative art therapists who are trained and ready to respond to requests for short and long-term service around the world and in tough places. Where: BuildaBridge Artists on Call have served in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Assignments are based on invitations from the field of service. How: A’sOC register with BuildBridge and attend the BuildaBridge Institute (arts relief, psychological first aid, curriculum writing and child development), and additional trainings with Red Cross. Why: A’sOC exhibit a distinct commitment to selfsacrifice and a desire to make a difference in the world through their artmaking in communities of poverty. What: A’sOC provide therapeutic creative experiences and psychosocial support through artmaking in many creative art forms. When: A’sOC are prepared to serve whenever there is a need in the world.

(First Time to Draw Cont.)

The project was held on the grounds of Panzi Hospital Monday through Thursday with artmaking classes for the women two-hours per day. Classes were planned for 10 women in each class for 30 total women. Due to interest and a local decision to include all women interested, the total number of women participating were over 100. Classes were offered in visual arts-mural making, dance, and photography. Each class had its own arts skills outcomes based on a theme of the journey of life and focused on hope, healing and resilience (a common theme for BuildaBridge).

Training in Arts and Trauma was provided for social workers and counseling assistants related to WAMU and Panzi Hospital and lasted two hours per day. Nineteen (19) attended the training with 15 receiving a certificate. Certificates of participation were given to all women who attended all four sessions. A number of the social workers assisted in the art-making classes for women. [In the photo above Shem Akinyi from Kenya taught the basics of photography to women with AIDS. Click here to see their photographs. Below Dr. Nix-Early stands with a social worker and translator.]

NOVEMBER 2011 Number of People Served in November

341 Number of Artists

67 Number of Programs/ Trainings


Hope and Healing in the Transition



Two young teachers experience the broken pot exercise in Nicaragua as a way to understand metaphor and resilience. The next week they taught 70 kids.

Since 2006 BuildaBridge has provided arts-based experiences to children and families living in transition and crisis in Philadelphia and abroad. In Philadelphia, teaching artists and creative arts therapists regularly lead classes in music, dance, visual arts, culinary arts, poetry and drama in up to 10 different transitional homes. In 2011, BuildaBridge began working with refugees as part of a collaborative funded by the Department of Behavioral Health. The Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative (PRMHC) is a group of resettlement agencies, mental health providers, physicians and BuildaBridge working to link

JULIA CRAWFORD leads women in the Congo in a dance of resilience. These women were recovering from surgery at the Panzi Hospital in the Congo.

refugees to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health care. BuildaBridge has been conducting art therapy groups with Burmese and Bhutanese children in South Philadelphia since August.  Groups will continue with the start of 2012 in addition to an art therapy group for Iraqi women and their

children in the Northeast section of the city. In 2009, BuildaBridge formed an alliance with the Refugee Family Services in Stone Mountain, Georgia to provide training for summer arts experience provided by the organization. 67 children participated summer 2011.


Kirby Bates Associates of Philadelphia will bring hope and a vision for the future to 12 deserving dancers from a local Philadelphia homeless shelter this December 18th by attending, together, the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker. The healthcare management consultants are guiding their giving with a purpose for young students like the one to the right who love to dance and dream of a better life--but who have never seen a professional performance.

BuildaBridge Partners with UNICEF BuildaBridge Institute in Haiti. The training will be conducted through a train-the-trainer model with 15 local Unicef selected volunteers who will be trained to conduct all local training for UNICEF.


BuildaBridge International is pleased to announce the signing of a contract with UNICEF that will train 90 volunteer community workers in three areas of creative community transformation in Haiti: Introduction to Community Arts (arts-based community program planning), Creating Safe and Creative Spaces for Children, and Arts Program Organizing and Development. The goal is to build human, social and organizational capacity for organizations working in local communities. The training will be offered in three (3) training workshops of five (5) days each in 2012. Lectures, community asset research, creative art-making, and group projects are integral to the training. Trainer manuals, student texts and workbooks will be provided in Haitian Kreyol as well as online supplemental audio/video files. Pre and post testing of participants’ knowledge and post program evaluation will be conducted for this

Since 2010, BuildaBridge has made a commitment to the children of Haiti through training and arts camps. Our Arts Relief and Development strategy includes both direct service and training. Beginning with an Arts for Healing training at North Haiti Christian University and two subsequent direct service projects with local partner Practical Compassion in both a school and orphanage, BuildaBridge recognized the need for training of local artists and community workers in meeting the needs of more children. The emphasis on training is part of a general shift in BuildaBridge strategy as a result of the success in offering catalytic arts camps around the world where local artists are seen as part of the Artists on Call team of artist teachers and community arts therapists. As the interest in working with children has grown, and especially the interest in meeting their needs after trauma, training has become a step in assisting local organizations in building their capacity for service.

Painting a Brighter Future . . . Hope and Healing is not possible without committed artists, quality training,  effective alliances and the support of people like you. Please consider a donation to our annual campaign to bring hope and healing to the most vulnerable of our world through the healing power of art-making. Send Donations to: BuildaBridge Painting a Brighter Future 205 West Tulpehocken Street Philadelphia, PA 19144 USA Online at:

Diaspora of Hope and Arts Relief is supported in part by the Global Awareness Profile

MISSION To engage creative people in the transformative power of art making to bring hope and healing to children, families and communities in the toughest places of the world

Currently BuildaBridge offers training in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, and the United States.

205 West Tulpehocken Street Philadelphia, PA. 19144 USA 215-842-0428

BuildaBridge partners with Eastern University to offer an Arts in Transformation concentration as part of their M.A. in Urban Studies

December Newsletter Email  

DIASPORA OF HOPE DECEMBER 2011 arts-based trauma intervention, and 2) provide arts-based therapeutic experiences to women with HIV/AIDS, th...

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