Youth Arts Therapy Program: February-March 2015

In early 2015, an arts therapy program was offered for young people aged 13-19 at the Lospalos Cultural Centre, led by Australian volunteer Karma Barnes and MHI staff member Nelson Diana da Costa.  Karma encouraged participants to develop their aspirations through creative processes and find personal meaning and reflection through art making. She intended that the program affirm the value of culture through developing creative themes, building collaborative skills and promoting a positive sense of identity amongst young participants.  The program drew upon the culture of street art in Timor Leste as a valuable means of expression and canvas of creative visioning for youth. Participants learned skills including stencil making, paste ups and mural painting, which were used to create a mural for the primary school opposite the Centro Cultura Lautem

Karma Barnes is a New Zealander based in Australia. She is a qualified arts therapist having received her MA through Melbourne Institute of Creative Arts Therapies.  She works as an arts therapist in northern NSW, Australia, running therapeutic art-based programs with women's groups, youth, indigenous and other cultural groups, special needs and disabilities. She recently won an award for the 'Best Youth Project of the Year' in the Byron Shire, NSW for her <In.scribe> youth street art program.

Her website:

Karma’s volunteer work was funded by a crowd funding campaign:

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