Type of Mission
Online/Residential Mission in partnership with Lebanese NGO Myschoolpulse
August 2020 – present
Programme Supervisors: Heidi Bardot and Dr. Penelope Orr
Resident Art Therapists: Soraya Hage Obeid and Mona Chebaro
Online Art Therapists: Nadine Aber Jaber, Alaa Alhajii, Rhonda Miller
Art Therapy Masters Interns: Yasi Ahsanipour from George Washington University, USA. Sarah-Jane Asman and Cristina Longetti from Edinboro University, USA.
11 teachers and support staff from Myschoolpulse
84 children and family members affected by cancer or other long-term illness
Capital Group and Faber-Castell
In July 2020 The Red Pencil (International) was in discussion with a local partner in Lebanon called Myschoolpulse, to introduce an online programme of arts therapy for their tutors and around 90 children and families battling with long-term illness such as cancer in the midst of the first Covid-19 lockdown in Lebanon and worsening economic conditions.
Then the devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut happened on 4th August 2021 and The Red Pencil (International) swung into action to recruit a team of 5 Arabic-speaking art therapists and a clinical supervisor, Heidi Bardot from George Washington University, USA.
- The start of the mission had to be delayed a few months while our local partner worked hard to find and re-connect with their tutors and the children, many of whom were displaced due to the effects of the blast, which damaged over 500,000 homes in Beirut.
- Restoring electricity, wifi connections and providing tablets and phones was also the priority to enable ongoing art therapy contact to continue with the children and families from 4 hospitals in Beirut, several of whom had lost relatives or friends during the explosion.
- A new online Train the Trainer in Self-Care and Psychoeducation was developed for 11 Myschoolpulse teachers and support staff, providing weekly group sessions from November 2020 to April 2021, to restore the teachers’ emotional well-being and resilience in the face of all the challenges in Lebanon during 2020.
- This online programme brought about a remarkable sense of team cohesion and ongoing support for the staff and also equipped them with new knowledge around mental health resilience and skills in art therapy techniques for working with the children and parents.
- Weekly art therapy sessions with the children were also delivered online from Byblos, where some of the children were evacuated after the blast, by resident Lebanese art therapist, Soraya Obeid.
- 4 other Arabic-speaking art therapists worked online via weekly sessions to provide art therapy for the tutors from November 2020.
- A total of 84 children and family members from 4 hospitals in Beirut were engaged in weekly art therapy sessions as the project continued into 2021.
Type of mission
12-month local residency pilot project to design and deliver a bespoke art-based therapeutic program for refugee children aiming to integrate into Lebanese schools, with a Train-the-Trainer capacity-building component for education professionals.
September 2019 – February 2020
Chouaifet, Mount Lebanon
Ana Aqra Association
Resident Art Therapist: Soraya Hage Obeid, MFA, MA Ath
Consultant Program Supervisor: Dr Mercedes Ballbé ter Maat, PhD, LPC, ATR-BC
- 80 children (9-15 years old), enrolled in the BLN (Basic Literacy and Numeracy) second cycle at a catch-up school in Chouaifet
- 12 teachers and other educational professionals with Ana Aqra Association participated in The Red Pencil’s Train-the-Trainer program
The majority of Syrian children in Lebanon live in temporary settlements with high levels of poverty, violence and social stigma, in Southern Beirut, Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. Ana Aqra Association is an implementing partner funded by The Luminos Fund Lebanon Program to deliver back-to-school, accelerated learning sessions for Syrian refugees and other vulnerable children in Lebanon. They offer Arabic, English, Maths and Psychosocial Support (PSS) lessons in government-regulated Basic Numeracy and Literacy (BLN) programs, which run in 12-week cycles, as well as Summer Remedial classes and Homework Support programs.
The key objectives requested of The Red Pencil in the needs assessment for this mission were:
- To improve the well-being of the children by providing them with the opportunity to release possible trauma.
- To build the capacity of teachers in improving the well-being of learners during the implementation of art therapy or other artwork.
To achieve these objectives, in September 2019, The Red Pencil appointed a Lebanese arts therapist, Soraya Hage Obeid, who worked under the consultant supervision of Dr Mercedes Ballbé ter Maat, to prepare an initial Train-The-Trainer (TTT) program and a pilot manual of 12 weeks of arts-based therapeutic sessions for the Ana Aqra Association.
Type of mission
22 July – 8 August 2016 (18 days)
Healers United Abroad
40 female refugees (14 to 21 years old)
The overall purpose of Healers United Abroad is to deliver education and training workshops, seminars, and classes to promote excellence in clinical care. In light of the Syrian crisis, Healers United Abroad is seeking to provide meaningful support through the art making to female Syrian refugees housed in Bhamdoun.
The goals of the mission came in the following:
- Empowerment for young women
- Offer a safe space for self-exploration and creativity
- Help young women to understand that what is happening is not their fault
- Emotional regulation and reframing their experiences in order to reintegrate society
- From a neuroscience perspective, sensory and expressive process will help in their emotional stabilization
Type of mission
July – August 2016 (13 days)
14 war-affected children and refugees (12-14 years old)
Children in refugee camps on the border of Syria
Type of mission
17 – 18 December 2015
Bekka Valley and Beruit
Kayany Schools (Al Nahrieh), now under the in-charge of Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS).
Mona Chebaro, Dania Darwazeh and Myra Saad
Syrian refugees students, children and families
- 200 children (5-13 years old)
- 10 caregivers
- 23 families
The goal of the program was to provide children and parents with a means for emotional expression. As well as opportunities to increase their understanding of past experiences, make sense of a challenging present, and build a community by offering personal support in group art therapy settings.
To help them reach that goal, 7 art therapists, one dance/music therapists, and 3 volunteers offered Syrian families a safe place to express thoughts and emotions. They wanted them to work on developing self esteem and positive self regard, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop social and community cohesion in a creative, playful way while promoting sustainability through modeling interventions for teachers – a train-the-trainer model.
Our work here
Number of missions: 5
Global impact in Lebanon: 378 children, 40 female refugees, 10 caregivers, 23 teachers and other educational professionals, 23 families
Local residency, Train-the-Trainer program, Community outreach