Leyla Atik, 2017 Blossom Hill Fellow, is helping Syrian refugee children overcome the trauma of war through the latest art therapy practices.
One of these children is Rinez, 7, who fled the war in Syria for a refugee camp in Turkey. Rinez suffers from cognitive and speech problems exacerbated by the war. Unable to draw images, she scribbles. Unable to verbalize her response to activities, she nods with approval.
At the Center, Rinez was mostly withdrawn. Occasionally, the other children in her group mocked her weaker abilities. But after a series of group sessions, the children soon learned the importance of tolerance and understanding. “We need to respect each other. It is one of the rules. Scribbling is okay too,” said one participant. Another participant who had initially laughed at Rinez's attempts at drawing recalled the Center's rules: "There is no right or wrong in art. On that day, we also scribbled."
Feeling fully supported and accepted by her peers, Rinez is now more active in the sessions and makes greater efforts to interact with other children. Her consistent smiles say it all.
Blossom Hill Foundation
Investing in peace through innovation.