Print Edition - 2015-05-31  |  Earthquake Relief

Art therapy sessions for kids

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Art therapy sessions for kids

May 30, 2015-

On Friday, as children who were taking shelter with their families at Tundikhel crouched on the ground and drew on a canvas freely, a theme emerged--the earthquake and the destruction it had wrought.

“Earthquake distroyered [sic] our country. Please help us,” wrote Sameer Chaulagain. A few drew Sponge Bob, a cartoon character, shaking because of the earthquake. Others drew the Dharahara. Many portrayed resilience, expressed in words of love for the country, for their villages and cities.

For a week, around 250 children of age 3-14 have been gathering at this camp in Tundikhel to take their minds off the earthquake. Twelve-year-old Gayatri Singh Thakuri, who lived with her parents in a rented room at Jamal before the April 25 jolt, says that the art and craft activities conducted at the camp have helped her focus on something other than the fear generated by the quake. “My family has decided not to go back to our room until after the aftershocks completely stop. Camps like these give us a sense of normalcy,” said Thakuri.

With the schools closed after the earthquake, returning to normalcy has become a challenge for children. “Children see fear in adults and in themselves. We want them to use colours to bring those fears out and flush them away,” says Rabindra Maharjan, president of Shanti Education Initiative-Nepal (SEIN), a non-profit organisation that has been running an hour-and-half long arts and craft sessions at Tundikhel.

“If we talk to a child individually, they still talk of being scared of another big quake. But when they are in groups creating art, they forget about the devastation,” says Rosy Lama, a teacher trainer at SEIN, who leads the group of volunteer teachers at the camp.

The schools are set to reopen from today. But parents are still fearful that the school buildings are not strong enough to withstand another big jolt. If their fear drives the schools to remain closed, Maharjan says, the organisation will hold the sessions in camps elsewhere. “The objective is to keep the children busy and focused on something creative,” says Maharjan.

Published: 31-05-2015 07:39

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