Andy, a kid from one of my art classes, focuses intently on his drawing. I have started collaborating with a project that the CCBN helps sponsor in a neighborhood here in Managua. This neighborhood, called Barrio Jorge Dimitrov, has higher rates of violence and poverty than our barrio, Batahola Norte. The project, funded by the Irish foundation Trocaire, focuses on gender-violence prevention, working with children, youth, and adults. The CCBN helps by bringing in psychologists who work with the various sectors, along with some arts classes.
I just stepped in a few weeks ago to help teach painting/drawing once a week to kids ages 10-13 and with another group aged 14-17. I work alongside Yahoska, a member of the Trocaire-CCBN team, who leads a dynamic-game each time that opens up a theme related to gender-violence prevention. Part of the class I teach a new art technique, and then we try to always leave room for the kids to respond to the message by free-painting. In this way, it is functioning as art therapy.
I’m both excited for this work, and still a little intimidated about how to organize an art-space for kids who’ve never been in an art class. Lot’s of patience, flexibility, old rags, and laughter needed. And prayers!!