Leveling the Playing Field: Arts Based Training in Africa

Jennie Kristel Start Date: Nov 5, 2017 - End Date: Jul 12, 2018
  • Leadership/Training Program
  • Professional Development
  • Volunteer Trip
  • Karen, Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya
  • Cairo Governorate, Egypt
  • India

My Travel Story

by: Jennie Kristel Start Date: Nov 5, 2017 - End Date: Jul 12, 2018
  • Leadership/Training Program
  • Professional Development
  • Volunteer Trip
Climate disasters. Frightening political leaders and policies. Inadequate health care. We share these traumatic experiences with other people around the world. Yet it’s far easier to find a therapist who can provide what we need here than it is in many other countries.

 Why? Access to training.
I’ve been asked to train trainers in Egypt, Kenya, and India in 2018. I'm incredibly excited. Working with the arts and with Playback Theatre has always been the powerful bones of my work.
Educators and therapists around the world have expressed a great hunger to learn arts-based tools that support clients and address complex issues such as trauma. The professionals I work with in Asia, India, and Africa have little money to pay for going abroad for training, or even for bringing in a trainer from abroad. Since 2003 I have worked with under-resourced individuals, groups, and schools in Asia. I know that when I teach a group of clinicians and educators, they want to share their knowledge with others, increasing access to tools for many. This year I am committed to teaching in Africa and India, and I must raise funds to cover my travel expenses.

You can help make this work possible. Any amount helps!

 An Empowerment Model of Sharing Knowledge and Practices

When I partner with an organization abroad, I offer my skills as a starting point. Learning along with workshop participants, I facilitate a “translation” process, in which participants take the practices I introduce and adapt and adjust them to meet the unique needs of their communities. Each group shapes the learning to the cultural, political, social, and environmental contexts in which they live and work. Often these are very different from mine; training that acknowledges these differences makes sense as a model of empowered facilitation and exchange.   One of my primary goals is to have the trainees become the trainers for their friends and colleagues. Participants in my workshops work directly with people impacted by highly stigmatizing problems such as sex trafficking, abuse, the lack of disability rights, AIDS/HIV, and a host of other mental health concerns. When I provide training I aim to make my teaching culturally sensitive and relevant, and ethically sound through collaborative learning..  I encourage participants to remake the content to suit the needs of their practice sites and communities.

Through this work, I help empower voices that often go unheard and:

   * Addresses the severe lack of access to tools and theory experienced by therapist and educators in these countries. 
      Provides a rich toolkit for professionals seeking to aid others to successfully navigate personal and cultural problems. 
   * Expands the reach of my actions; 
   * Profoundly informs my work as a clinician and educator in the U.S.

January 2018 Karen, Kenya
In this training sponsored by The Global Alliance for Africa, a non-profit in Chicago Illinois, I'll join several arts-based therapists working with artists, therapists, and community advocates who are aiding orphans in Karen, a town outside Nairobi. We'll be in conversation with local professionals as we learn about their work, understand their needs, and share ideas. It is everyone’s expectation that the arts-based tools we share will greatly benefit workshop attendees, enhancing their effectiveness as therapists and educators, and enriching both their work and ours. In this work teachers and participants are all both facilitators and learners. 

March 2018, Cairo, Egypt
The Dawar Arts Community in Cairo, Egypt has invited me to facilitate two trainings. Directed by Ben Rivers, Dawar "utilities participatory theatre, therapeutic drama and other arts-based processes for healing, dialogue and societal transformation from the grassroots up." I'll be working with therapists, caregivers, and other professionals seeking ways to integrate the expressive arts into their projects, practices, and communities. The first training will explore issues related to burnout using narrative therapy and the expressive arts; the second is an overall introduction to the potential and practices of expressive arts therapy field.

June 2018, Bangalore, India
In June I will return to Bangalore, India, to continue my theatre work with  socially engaged Playback Theatre troupes who call Bangalore home, including The Actors Collective and Yours Truly, both award-winning companies.

When I offer classes and workshops abroad, I primarily volunteer my time. Your support will allow me to share powerful new tools and skills to clinicians and educators working directly with people in the field.
Thank you for stopping by  consider making a donation and PLEASE feel free to share my campaign with others who might want to help this project come to life!
  • Karen, Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya
  • Cairo Governorate, Egypt
  • India


  • I Am Back In The States: Thank You All!

    I am back in the States: Thank you all!
    Dear Everyone. I have arrived back from my trip to Kenya. i will be creating a report of the trip in due time. It was an amazing trip, working alongside some incredible arts based therapists, artists and educators from the US and East Africa. A lot was covered- from basic counseling skills, to integrating art making and drama into counseling, to skill sharings and some sightseeing. While I did not intentionally go on safari, I was able to enjoy an abundance of wildlife including Giraffes, Baboons, Monkeys, warthogs, Elephants and a huge array of birds. It was in a nut shell an amazing trip.
  • Thank You!

    Thank You!
    It is so heartwarming to see new donations today. As I pack up my bags with art supplies, and prepare directives and games to play, I feel I will take you all with me on this journey. Thank you Marcela Pino, Debe Edden, Brigitt Warner and Susan Grimes. I feel so deeply blessed.

Adventure Registry

  • Art Sale!

    $ 425
    • Granted
  • Offline Donation

    $ 25
    Brigitt Warner
    • Granted
  • Donation

    $ 20
    Topaz Weis
    • Granted