The Cartwheel Initiative
Program Participant, Pandiyankulam
The Cartwheel Initiative is a perennial project. Their dedicated team of artists intend to work with children in communities that have experienced conflict and disaster. Their inaugural project was recently launched in Sri Lanka, a country that was gripped by ethnic civil war from 1983 to 2009 claiming as many as 100,000 lives.
JHP – Josephine Herrick Project was a wonderful partner for this project. They provided us with 35 digital cameras and memory cards for our photography workshops with the children. They allowed us to leave 15 cameras with the schools to continue their learning and discovery about seeing the world through the camera lens.
In The Field – Northern Province, Sri Lanka
The Cartwheel Initiative conducted a series of hands-on workshops in photography, visual art and music in three schools of the Northern Province, the former stronghold of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). During the final phases of the war, civilians in the Northern Province were caught in unforgiving crossfire between the advancing Sri Lankan Army and retreating LTTE. The children they worked with were directly affected by displacement, malnutrition, and warfare.
Families in the Northern Province are finally returning to their villages and homes. However, many still suffer from profound psychological distress, and the children they worked with benefitted greatly from learning to express their emotions through artistic means. By helping children to heal, The Cartwheel Initiative also contributed to a more integrated Sri Lanka.
Nearly 200 children participated in these programs in Sri Lanka. The team’s art professional therapist led workshops with faculty and staff at each school, and provided reference manuals covering state-of-the-art therapeutic techniques that will inform counselling strategies well into the future.
For more information on The Cartwheel Initiative, please visit their website. http://www.cartwheelinitiative.org/