Saint Lucian children living with learning differences are to receive targeted physical and sensory art therapy through a project being implemented by Sacred Sports Foundation Inc (SSF).
The new “Spirits of Colour” initiative will specifically target children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and global development delay (GDD).
It is a direct response to local stakeholder requests following research undertaken by SSF.
The programme also has a public advocacy component aimed at raising awareness of the challenges faced by these youth and will additionally help train special needs teachers, carers, and youth mentors to better support the children.
Sprits of Colour is funded by the Caribbean Policy Development Centre through the Strengthening Civil Society to Alleviate the Impact of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Communities in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean project, also referred to as the Strengthening Civil Society Capacity (SCSC) project funded by the European Union.
The aim is to build civil society capacity through small grants for delivering services to beneficiaries, strengthening NGO operations, and the creation of a collective platform to advocate for greater attention to vulnerable groups’ needs.
“Our work in the community spans over a decade of inclusive, ability over disability programme delivery for children and youth with physical/intellectual differences and or behavioural difficulties in collaboration with Saint Lucia’s Special Education Unit,” said Nova Alexander, SSF Executive Director.
“The introduction of a new and innovative programme has been made possible thanks to CPDC’s continued commitment to putting people at the center of Caribbean sustainable development through support for NGOs like ours further strengthening these efforts.”
Officer-in-charge of the CPDC, Richard Jones, added that the entity was excited to continue its work with Sacred Sports Foundation.
“SSF and CPDC have enjoyed a longstanding and fruitful relationship. We are pleased to support activities which cater to people living with disabilities. This underserved community deserves our support and active engagement towards transformative policymaking.”
“Spirits of Colour” will provide inclusive sensory art and physical therapy in the Castries basin, build capacity through training of mentors and teachers in these techniques.
In addition, the project will amplify the voices of people in the community by hosting a podcast and the roll out of a social media campaign.
Sensory art can improve a child’s mental health, social skills, self-esteem, and overall well-being. When children explore different art mediums while in a therapeutic session, their creativity is enhanced by what their minds want to express.
SOURCE: Sacred Sports Foundation