The Gratitude Project 2019
This module offered participants (Community Art Facilitators also known as CAFs) an opportunity to be part of a 7-month long project that included 4 weeks of training, 8 weeks of implementation with on-site mentoring and a temporary exhibition with a prize giving ceremony. Each CAF participant learned skills in Fabric Painting, Hand sewing, Embroidery and other forms of needlework to create a 38cm x 44cm square fabric for themselves as well as their beneficiaries that depicted what each participant was most grateful for.
These fabric squares were mended together through a needlework process as a collective group.
Each facilitator implemented the same lesson within their own community with children aged above 9 years old and above, resulting in each group to create their own “Gratitude Blanket”. CAFs were mentored after the gratuity module training through on-site visits which encouraged implementation and monitored the effectiveness of our training.
The Butterfly Art Project uses art as a medium to counteract the effects of immense social challenges on children. The challenges they face (particularly in South Africa) destabilise and traumatise them, threatening their childhood development. Research shows that gratitude or gratefulness leads to more positive relationships with others, it improves physical health, improves psychological health, enhances empathy and reduces aggression. It also allows one to sleep better, improves self-esteem and increases mental strength.
All the children and CAFs we work with, need tools and opportunities to practice gratitude to enable their stability and healing, for this reason we chose our annual bonus module theme as gratitude.
By practicing and being more conscious of gratitude daily, one becomes more energized and positive, irrespective of how discouraging and vulnerable one’s situation might be. Gratitude builds resilience and grows coping mechanisms when need in difficult and traumatic times. It enables one to endure and grow an immune attitude to negative circumstances. When faced with trauma, practicing gratitude, provides one with perspective so as not to become overwhelmed.
Creating art gives children an opportunity to not only explore their potential and creativity, but also to represent experiences that they perhaps cannot verbalize. This is therapeutic. Because of this healing power of art, it is important that we empower adults who work with children, so that they can enable their stability and their sense of self (sound values, own goals, mature traits, beliefs and a sense of purpose).
The Butterfly Art Project encourages group work because it promotes a spirit of inclusion within diverse groups, fosters team work, breaks down social barriers and builds trust. It builds communication skills for participants to be able to relate to peers and others.
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A Slideshow of Photos from the Project
This art project was designed to grow gratitude in children from 8 years on for their own well-being. The exploration of their own feelings of gratitude through guided art activities and gratitude practice exercises gave them an opportunity to grow stability, sound values, goals, mature traits, beliefs and a sense of purpose with non-verbal media.
The project encouraged group work to promote a spirit of inclusion within diverse groups, fostered team work, broke down social barriers and build trust what is important to relate to peers and others.
Combining the components of art and sewing, working in a group and applying an overall theme of gratitude, addressed the needs of children growing up in disadvantaged communities suffering from the effects of traumatic events caused by violence, abuse, neglect and lack of safety.