Make It Better – workshops for underprivileged children

17 Jul

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that embraces the creative process of making art to help improve the well-being of a person – emotionally, mentally and physically. The process involved in artistic expression is effective in managing feelings and behaviors, and can also help to reduce stress, improve self-esteem and awareness.

SAF Make It Better Workshop – September 26, 2014

SAF Make It Better Workshop – September 26, 2014

Art therapy can help people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, as well as people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art. Those experiencing art therapy are removed from the constraints of the cerebral, verbal and judgmental, instead taking comfort and understanding from the here-and-now realm of imagination and intuition.

The Make It Better project is a Sovereign Art Foundation initiative that offers weekend and midweek workshops to underprivileged children living in Hong Kong’s most disadvantaged parts. Programme locations include Sham Shui Po, Tai Wai and Kowloon City – areas known for terribly cramped living conditions and appalling poverty, where the working-class residents are frequently isolated from the wider society that we enjoy.

make it betterMake It Better works with families affiliated with locally established organisations to provide empowering learning activities reinforced by art to the children of such families. Make It Better seeks to give these children the time, attention and opportunities they may not otherwise receive and offers one-on-one assistance in all workshops, allowing the children to discover themselves, their communities and positive options for their future.

The SAF team has developed a 30-week programme, each of which is divided into 4 modules. Each module identifies a relevant learning and realization experience, and a corresponding artistic activity is designed to support that concept in a non-verbal, non-competitive and creative environment. Make It Better embraces principles from Art Therapy practice, incorporating them into programmes with an aim to utilising and fostering a child’s own creativity in order to help and heal, providing safe spaces where children from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds can feel free to express themselves and to develop socially and emotionally.

For many children, MIB workshops are the largest scale experiential art spaces they will have ever encountered. Each module is designed to encourage the growth of a child’s own self-expression, while ensuring the continued development of appropriate and healthy social interaction with other children from different backgrounds. Through shared activities, the hope is children will feel empowered, able and ready to grow into not only happy and centered young adults but future leaders in our communities, no matter their circumstances.

The SAF team work with Hong Kong University’s Master of Expressive Arts Therapy students for guidance on the latest techniques and to produce research and data. They also work closely with established organisations in impoverished areas of the city to properly understand the specific needs of each community.

The programme is continuously growing and reaching more children in need, and they are now working with children who have serious learning and other disabilities. They have seen that their programmes have a tremendously positive impact and are committed to making it better for the children of Hong Kong.

How can you help?
The Sovereign Art Foundation is constantly in need of volunteers for their regular Make It Better workshops. They pride themselves in offering their programme participants one on one support during each workshop, giving them the time and attention they deserve – and are so often deprived of.

If you are willing and able to support the SAF at their weekend workshops in Hong Kong, please visit their website.

make it better logoAbout The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) : The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) was established in 2003 with a well-defined twin focus: to recognise the growing wealth of contemporary art talent in Asia, and bring the proven benefits of art therapy to underprivileged children. The beauty of the SAF model is that they are able to achieve both goals in an eminently sustainable way. The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, now recognised as the most prestigious prize in its field and region, raises funds by auctioning those artworks that reach the final stage of the competition. The proceeds are then shared equally between the artists and the Foundation, to be used for SAF charitable projects across Asia.

In this way, over the past 12 years, SAF has raised and distributed more than US$5 million to support a variety of art-based programmes for children throughout Asia.

To find out more about their charity programmes see their ‘Who We Help’ section of the website.

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