Based on reports from trafficked persons and their families, in Laos human trafficking occurs in the areas of: prostitution (35%), domestic labour (32%), factory work (17%), and fishing boats (46%). The UN estimates that trafficking in ‘human cargo’ generates around US$7 billion per year. World Vision Laos reported that 44% of parents do not know where their children are. Of children who returned home, 50% reported their experience was terrible, 40% reported being locked up, and 13% were raped.
Local development and civil society organizations want to improve their capacity on new and creative tools to empower resilience of vulnerable groups and people. Capacity building of future facilitators of such tolls is necessary, preferably through on-the-job coaching. In neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Myanmar arts are already been used as a tool to enhance mental health and well-being by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression of marginalised groups of the society.
Village Focus International and Italian Arts Organization Arteca Italia have designed a 10 weeks ‘arts for empowerment’ training program to capacitate local non profit associations in the use of art activities as a tool to empower vulnerable groups. 6 educators of 4 different organizations (2 Lao associations and 2 International NGO’s) will be trained in using different art techniques to help vulnerable people to build the values and communication skills necessary to resolve problems in their own lives (i.e. to overcome trauma, to improve health, to promote gender equality, to educate about HIV/AIDS and to support efforts aimed at empowering this group).
Main goal of the project
The overall objective of this project is to introduce cultural activities as a tool for empowerment of people within organizations that work to empower vulnerable groups in Lao society. In this sense the project will:
- build capacity in and stimulate the use of the arts as a tool for empowering vulnerable groups of the Lao society,
- strengthen the capacity of 2 local non profit associations and 1 International NGO to use arts as a tool for children and women empowerment,
- strengthen 6 educators’ capacity through rendering Training of Trainers and coaching services,
- stimulate 6 educators’ creativity by peer learning and fostering the use of innovative out of curriculum activities,
- develop training materials adapted to the Lao environment and disseminate this among relevant local associations working with vulnerable groups.
For the residents of the shelter (15 to 20) the value of the project is therapeutic – offering them participants a form of expression for the real challenges in their life – it helps them create new ways of thinking. The participants will look at themselves in a different ways and also begin to see the variety of life’s options. In this sense the project will help residents of the shelter residents of the shelter build skills necessary to communicate about problems in their own lives.
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