Type of mission

Start-Up!: an arts therapy programme that aims to give support to the education of children affected by humanitarian crises through a professional train-the-trainer programme for teachers.

March – December 2019 (still ongoing) 


El Callao, Lima, Peru

Partner organization

Fundación Integración Comunitaria (FIC)

Beneficiaries : 

180 children (approx.) 

19 caregivers

Art Therapist :

Dr Mercedes Ballbe ter Maat

(Mission Reporter: John Carlos ter Maat and Anaisa Cornejo)

With the Support of : 

The Red Pencil (International) expresses heartfelt gratitude to Trafigura Foundation and Faber-Castell for their generous support of this mission.


(Mission Update for 1 March – 31 May 2019)

The Red Pencil (International), partnered with Fundación Integración Comunitaria (FIC), the social arm of the Trafigura Group in Peru to implement an arts therapy programme called Start-Up! (Empecemos!) for the children under the care of FIC. 

The Start-Up (Empecemos!) programme was successfully implemented at FIC as part of the existing after-school programme, Tiempo Fuera, with 180 children registered at Tiempo Fuera’s three centres. The mission began in March 2019 and was led by registered arts therapist Dr Mercedes Ballbe ter Maat.

The Start-Up! Programme was originally developed by arts therapist, Linda Chapman, MA, ATR-BC, and by Carey MacCarthy, MA, ATR-LPCC, an arts therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counsellor, to aid the healing of indigenous Native American children in a classroom setting and has been used successfully with many different indigenous populations. The Programme includes art directives to “strengthen sensory and motor systems, develop the mind-body and allow children to discover new possibilities for their lives and their future." With a high adaptability to any culture or ethnicity, the Programme is designed to help children and adolescents at risk reduce anxiety, depression and aggression and guard against substance abuse, violent behaviour and suicide.

Dr ter Maat arrived in Lima at the beginning of March to start the sessions and was warmly welcomed by the staff and volunteers at FIC. The Start-Up! Programme is designed to be implemented by the school personnel (teachers, counsellors, volunteers) over the academic year, so in the first phase of this mission, the role of the arts therapist was primarily to train the staff and volunteers so that they can use the programme effectively with the children throughout the year. During the training phase in March and April 2019, the FIC team worked very cooperatively with Dr ter Maat, gradually building their arts therapy skills and knowledge to establish a strong relationship with the children and fostering a conducive environment for healing to begin.

Dr ter Maat left Peru at the end of April and will return in August and again in early December to evaluate how effectively the FIC staff and volunteers have been able to implement the Start Up! programme in her absence. This emphasis on equipping and empowering the staff and volunteers with the knowledge and skills to implement Start-Up! independently ensures that the programme is sustainable over the longer term, as it can be implemented year after year by the trained school personnel, without the need for extensive external support.

(To be updated again)


Type of mission

Art therapy residency

1 April – 1 October, 2018 (6 months)


Ayacucho, Peru

Partner organization

Diamanta (Solid Peru)

Beneficiaries : 

137 residents (15-19 years old) 

40 local staff


Simon Murray


The Red Pencil partnered with Diamanta, an organization based in Ayachuco, Peru, to help bring the power of arts therapy to young girls and women who have suffered the aftermath of war and conflict. The political conditions of the country and especially this region have left deep scars in the lives of the local people. They are always living in fear experience and consequently they trust no one.

According to the partner, people tend to hide their trauma and choose not to voice their experiences in a view to forget all of it. Many victims do not process the horrific experiences and as a result many suffer from substance abuse, post-traumatic disorder and anxiety issues. Additionally, intra-familial violence is reported in the communities of Ayacucho, which include violence among spouses, violence against children and cases of rape.

The mission brought together a multi-disciplinary team working alongside the arts therapist to enhance the psychosocial support of participants at different centres. The intention was to integrate this form of therapy into Diamanta’s framework of support to the young girls and women. The therapy sessions that were conducted used group arts therapy modality followed by staff training sessions. The mission was a Residency one that took place in a time period of 6 months. 



Our work here

Number of missions: 2

Global impact in Peru: 180 children, 137 youth and 59 staff


Image result for diamanta ayacucho


  • Start-Up!
  • Art therapy residency