Type of mission

Clinical programmes


The Red Pencil, in partnership with the Belgian Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil), delivers group arts therapy sessions to residents who require psychosocial assistance. Interventions are designed to address the existential distress, grief and loss arising from their situation and help overcome their struggles by building resilience to project themselves in the future and find their place in society. 

Since 2017, The Red Pencil has organised an average of 12 clinical art therapy or music-therapy cycles per year for the benefit of newcomers living in some of Belgium’s Fedasil centres. Each cycle is typically composed of 10 sessions and targets 10 beneficiaries (children, unaccompanied minors and adults).

Partner organisation

With support from its partners (such as The Belgian Red Cross), Fedasil focuses on securing shelter, food, and assistance to asylum seekers during the time their asylum request is being processed. The Red Pencil’s programmes complement very well Fedasil’s psycho-social approach.


King Baudouin Foundation – Le Compas Fund



Asylum seekers reception centers managed by Fedasil and The Belgian Red Cross.

Art Therapists

  • Mamiaba Banernsco
  • Fred Bastin
  • Jean-François Delforge
  • Sylvia Delperdange
  • Sophie Descampe
  • Isabelle Dierckx
  • Colette Hellings
  • Anik Eyben
  • Johanna Leps
  • Sophie Lévy
  • Karen Mosselmans
  • Natacha Pirotte
  • Annemie Sel
  • Cathy Van Beneden
  • Sofie Vandaele (intern)
  • Julie Verkist
  • Francis de Brabandere
  • Dimitra Tsougrani (intern)
  • Roxana Van Daelen
  • Caroline Van Outryve (intern)


The emotional and social needs of asylum seekers and, more generally, migrants, are identified to arise out of living the experience of separation, mourning and often having to undergo a traumatic journey to reach a foreign country. Therefore asylum seekers may be experiencing some of the stressors related to existential distress such as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, anxiety and depression as well as grief and loss.
Our beneficiaries are selected by Fedasil, and priority is given to the residents who need the most help. The content of our clinical missions is tailored to suit the type of care that the group requires. 
Over our 3-year plan, our clinical programmes will reach approximately 500 beneficiaries including:
  • 30% of unaccompanied minors
  • 10% of children accompanied by their parents
  • 30% of young single adults (between 18-22 years old)
  • 30% of adults


For the beneficiaries

  • Enable them to cope with the difficult emotions relating to displacement
  • Empower their self-identity, through the creative process
  • Enhance their resilience
  • Give them an opportunity to connect to others through group facilitated sessions

For the partner

  • Integrate psychosocial assistance through arts therapy in asylum seeker centres in Belgium
  • Advocate for the importance of integrating psychosocial assistance

Type of mission

Clinical programmes: art therapy, music therapy and dance therapy


In Belgium, like in most developed countries, cancer is a serious disease whose incidence on the general population is very important. In 2020, 83,267 new diagnoses of cancer were made, including 33,079 new cases in women and 38,572 in men. In the period from 2014 to 2025, the yearly number of new invasive tumour diagnoses in Belgium is projected to rise 17%.

While the bulk of cancer care remains the quality of medical treatment, it is equally important that patients, during their illness, feel good about themselves and their minds.

Cancer is a very stressful disease that can pose a wide range of challenges, including lifestyle changes, interpersonal tensions, existential crises, and social isolation. It is therefore very important that patients have adequate psychological and emotional support.

Partner organisation

The Red Pencil collaborates with hospitals and centres for cancer patients, such as the King Albert II Institute, which is part of the Saint-Luc University Hospital. The Institute is the clinics' cancer centre: it provides comprehensive and multidisciplinary care for patients. It is recognized for its expertise and the quality of its treatments.

RPE also collaborates with BOfort – the Brussels Meeting Place for everyone affected by cancer – and Re-source, two places where people can go for a listening ear, relaxation, workshops and gathering information in a homely and casual atmosphere, and whose mission is to improve the quality of life of patients and those around them in order to live better with cancer.



King Albert II Institute, BOfort & Re-source Chirec Delta Center, l’Essentiel

Art Therapists

  • Natacha Pirotte
  • Tanais Verbist
  • Sophie Descampe
  • Julie Verkist


  • The beneficiaries are outpatients who undergo cancer treatment at the Institute, at any stage of the treatment.
  • Cancer is often experienced as a rupture, an intense existential experience. It upsets one's personal and professional spheres, it disrupts one's social, emotional and family life, it transforms one's relationship to oneself, one's changing body, one's entourage and to the world in general.
  • Cancer patients generally suffer from high anxiety, which is accompanied by phases of anger and feeling of injustice (“why me?"). The fear of dying and giving up others is very present. For some it is also a time to come back and look back at their existence. Many patients also describe a feeling of isolation, great loneliness in the crossing of the disease, and the fact that their families and friends may have a hard time understanding what they are going through, which can generate melancholy, depression and relationship difficulties. The image of self is impaired, particularly the feminine part for breast cancer patients. Some patients even feel guilty of this situation. Psychic suffering is then added to the decrease in quality of life already induced by the disease and its heavy treatments.


The objectives of the mission focus on encouraging participants to express themselves and find coping mechanisms through art making in order:

  • to relieve stress and somatic tensions
  • to express, accept, regulate and possibly transform emotions to offer new perspectives, instilling hope and connect to creativity
  • to strengthen one's sentiment of existence and self-knowledge
  • to create meaning about the disease and integrate it into a personal narrative

Examples of proposed activities

Art Therapy

  • Using clay, modelling a place where you feel safe
  • Make a collage of “what is present inside you”
  • Draw your breath
  • Make a visual poem
  • Approach difficult emotions through tenderness and compassion
  • Draw a difficult emotion and transform it

Music Therapy

  • Connection to the body through vibration and movement (voice, drum and crystal bowl)
  • Connection to one's voice: singing vowels, spontaneous singing, yoga of sound
  • Connection to the group: spontaneous and intuitive chants by connecting to the energy of the group. “Acapella" songs or with drum support.

Dance Therapy

  • Connection to the body through intuitive movements and personal rhythms

  • Connection to the surrounding space through movements beginning from the ground and from the feet

  • Connection to parts of the body that feel pain with breathing exercises, expression of the pain through movements.

Type of mission

Clinical programmes: art therapy and dance therapy


Adolescence is a critical phase in human development, and for some teens this transition presents difficulties that require specific intervention.

Adults dealing with psychiatric issues requiring daily care, such as addictions, psychoses, personality disorders, anxiety, can benefit greatly from art therapy as a complementary activity to their daily treatment.


Partner organisation

The Adolescents Unit at Erasme Hospital welcomes patients between 13 and 18 years of age with mental distress, such as an eating disorder, a school phobia, depression or the like which prevents them from functioning normally in their external environment. The Unit can accommodate 20 adolescents. They stay there for a period of approximately 6 weeks.

The Therapeutic Center for Adolescents of St-Luc Hospital has a capacity of 20 teens too. The teens stay there for a period of 6 to 9 months.

The day unit at the Clinique de l’Europe offers therapeutic care to adults with all types of psychological difficulties or psychiatric pathologies. Their stay is structured around support interviews, community life and various activities that aim to re-mobilise the creative and human potential of each individual. 



  • Unité psychiatrique pour adolescents, Hôpital Erasme
  • Centre thérapeutique pour adolescents, Cliniques St-Luc
  • Centre de Jour de l’Unité Pyschiatrie, Cliniques de l’Europe (Etterbeek)

Art Therapists

  • Amy To
  • Mireille Toubac
  • Sophie Descampe
  • Natacha Pirotte
  • Caroline Van Outryve (intern)


The Red Pencil project complements the support offered by the multidisciplinary teams which include psychiatrists, nurses, specialised educators, psychologists (individual and family), occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

The programme was built to address the emotional and social needs of the beneficiaries: the need to increase their internal security, build self-confidence, step back and consider new ways to progress.

The overall objectives of the program are to provide participants with an opportunity to:

  • relax, connect with yourself
  • create links with others
  • let emerge what needs to be expressed
  • support a personal creative expression
  • boost self-esteem
  • connect with their bodies, their selves and others
  • wellbeing through movement and self-expression

Type of mission

2021/2022: Rode Neuzen Dag (Red Nose Day) training programmes for teachers

2019 : Training for teachers (Pilot programme of 2 days training)


In many schools, the school management and the teachers are confronted to pupils who have to deal with aspects such as fear of failure, social and economic difficulties, cultural adaptation. This can lead to conflicts in the class, some time to bullying and might cause extra stress to the teachers.

The Red Pencil project is part of a continuing education for the school management and teachers, with a focus on topics such as conflict prevention and harassment, and self-care techniques.


Partner organisation

In Flanders, Red Nose Day is an initiative that raises money for projects that make young people stronger, especially in schools and also aims to support teachers as much as possible. As part of this initiative, The Red Pencil organised training days through art therapy for conflict prevention and harassment and self-care, for teachers in 8 different schools in Flanders.

In 2019 , two primary schools in Brussels- the Sint Jozefschool and the Sint Vincentiusschool – hosted the pilot teacher-training project.

Both schools were interested in counselling through art therapy, in order to cope better with this stress, to guide the children in their growth process and to teach them how to deal with a multitude of feelings when confronted to difficult situations such as conflict and bullying.


King Baudouin Foundation – Rode Neuzen Fund



De Schommel
De BroeBELschool
Freinetschool TintelTuin
GBS De Springveer
De Zonnewijzer
GBD De Boomhut


Sint Jozefschool and the Sint Vincentiusschool

Art Therapists

  • Natacha Pirotte
  • Lesley Vermeyen
  • Ester Sing See
  • Joost Willems
  • Roxana Van Daelen
  • Karen Mosselmans


Around 100 participants. Teachers or members of the different school administrations, teachers from the elementary section (children aged between 6 and 12y) and pre-schools teachers (children aged from 3 to 5y).


The content of the program was built to reflect the demand expressed by the teachers, that is, have additional tools to inform, prevent and resolve conflicts in the classroom and the playground, to detect possible cases of harassment and also to take care of oneself as an education professional. 

Type of mission

2021: online training for educational staff


The migration journey is frequently traumatic and involves many changes and adaptations for the migrant. Because of this, many migrant children suffer from attention problems, emotional hyperactivity, insecurity, difficulty remaining in place, trust issues and low self-confidence. This prevents them from learning effectively in class, which makes teaching challenging for the educational staff.

In 2021, we collaborated with schools with DASPA classrooms; an education structure within the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles aimed at welcoming, providing schooling and integrating students from a migrant background into ordinary education.

Partner organisation

Schools from Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles network


Art Therapists

  • Natacha Pirotte
  • Julie Verkist


12 teachers of DASPA classes who are working with more than 90 migrant children students.


  • Equip the educational staff with knowledge on the use of creative tools that they can integrate into their work with migrant children, enabling them to address the specific needs of their students
  • Improve their student’s wellbeing and learning experience

Type of mission

Clinical programmes and arts-based capacity building and trainings


The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences on the mental health of young people and children especially. The Red Pencil has focused its attention to serve the most vulnerable, especially children and youth in the context of the COVID pandemic.

In Belgium, we collaborated with youth services, school drop-out prevention services, schools, centres for unaccompanied minors and a day-centre in a psychiatric hospital. In addition to programmes for the young people, we have also worked with the teams at the different organisations to provide them with tools to help support them through this difficult period.

Partner organisation

Siloé ASBL – La Fermette, L’Accueil, Ricochet, Logements Autonomes, Le Panel

Services d’Accrochage Scolaire (SAS) – Mons, Huy, Liège, Waremme

3 schools with DASPA classes (l’Ardoisière, Natoye, Arlon)

Le Quotidien


Art Therapists

  • Catherine Lemaître
  • Julie Verkist
  • Jean-François Delforge
  • Sophie Descampe
  • Frédéric Bastin
  • Natacha Pirotte
  • Frédérique Degand
  • Sarra Latrèche
  • Johanna Leps
  • Gaëlle Rogier (intern)


Clinical programmes :

  • Children and teenagers between 5 and 18 years-old
  • 107 attended our programmes

Trainings :

  • 41 caregivers and team members participated in the arts-based training


Clinical programmes:

  • Encourage self-expression of thoughts, ideas and emotions
  • Building and strengthening self-confidence
  • Promote tolerance, respect for others
  • Ease communication with peers
  • Develop creativity
  • Promote the expression and identification of feelings
  • Strengthening the bond in the group


  • Learn new tools that develop team reflection on professional activity and self-care skills
  • Learn tools to use with their public to facilitate communication and self-expression
  • Stimulate the young people's creativity and motivation
  • Help towards the team's self-fulfilment

Our work here

Number of missions: 

Long-term ongoing partnerships focusing on 4 sectors: social inclusion, health, education, response to the pandemic in children and youth.

Global impact in Belgium:

Social inclusion : Around 500 beneficiaries (asylum seekers) since 2017

Health: Around 200 beneficiaries since 2018  

Education: 100 teachers since 2019

Response to the pandemic: 500 beneficiaries over a 2-year period (2021-2022)


Social inclusion: Fedasil, The Red Cross – Belgium

Health: King Albert II Institute (Saint-Luc University Hospital), BOFort, Erasme University Hospital, Therapeutic Center for Adolescents (CThA), Re-source Chirec Delta Center, Espace Bien-être l’Essentiel, Cliniques de l’Europe (Etterbeek), Fond’Roy hospital

Education: schools

Response to the pandemic: Services d’Accrochage Scolaires (SAS), Siloé ASBL, schools


Clinical sessions and arts-based capacity building and training programmes (referred to as ‘training’)

For further information on these programmes, please contact