In April, drawchange traveled as a team to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to start art therapy-based programs in two after-school community centers, The Lelt Foundation and Studio Samuel. We enjoyed life-changing moments with the students while creating art, learning to communicate with one another, and of course playing!
We worked on many projects including dream journals – giving the children an opportunity to creatively envision and focus on what they want to be when they grow up, who they want by their side, where they want to live, and dreams for their future. We empowered the children at the Lelt Foundation to construct large paintings which were hung up around the community center walls. Decorating their community with positive images that bring them joy boosts self-confidence and teaches them to take pride in the areas they live and ultimately helps develop a more optimistic perspective on life!
Later in the trip we introduced an impactful project called “My Art Can Help You”. In this exercise, the girls teamed up with a partner and opened up about what was going on in their lives. Next, they each came up with a drawing to cheer up their partner about anything causing them to feel sad or discouraged. This activity is beautiful because it teaches useful skills such as: vulnerable communication, compassion, and empathy. One young girl drew a washing machine for her partner because she was really tired from hand washing clothes the previous day. Furthermore, the experience empowers them to use their art to truly make a difference in someone else’s life.
You can see some of these precious moments pictured in the gallery below: