From my very first WAR-TOYS trip, I've had few opportunities to work with the same children over multiple sessions. The reasons vary from deteriorating security situations (like in Gaza) to a lack of resources and/or access. Many organizations don't have ongoing psychosocial programs in which to integrate the project, and I wasn't in a position to create temporary workshops to fill in the gaps. To do this, I needed a dedicated art therapist, NGO support, and adequate funding. Happily, this year, everything came together.Read More
On February 25th, Art Therapist Myra Saad and I spent our first day working together again with three groups of Syrian refugee children. The Kayany Foundation kindly provided use of a classroom at their Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School and organized the groups – one all-girls (ages 13-16) and two mixed gender (ages 8-12) from the neighboring Kuzbari-Rotary German School.Read More
With the IS theft of my work and subsequent media coverage last year, I decided to keep my travel to Lebanon low profile until after I was done working with refugee children near the Syrian border. Even though IS has very little presence or influence in the area where I was working, I felt it was best to err on the side of caution and not endanger the children in any way. As a result, I didn’t update the travelog or post very much on social media while in the field. In the coming days, I’ll be remedying that and looking back on the work.Read More
The last week has been so busy that I haven't had the time or energy to blog. The eight days of escalated conflict put me far behind schedule, and I was struggling to get everything done in time for my planned departure this past Sunday.
On Tuesday, I once again teamed up with the amazing Dr. Benjamin Epstein and visited the AMIT Torani Mada'i School in Sderot. The school's director Dina Khoury was kind enough to grant us access to a group of 3rd and 4th grade boys and girls.Read More