Art therapy program for children of Belarusian political prisoners

Implementation period of project:
June 2023 — November 2023

The project lead and designed by Center of the Belarusian Solidarity aims to help Belarusian political prisoners by supporting their families. 40 children living in exile in Poland, whose at least one parent is a political prisoner, will receive psychological support in the form of a three-month art therapy pilot program developed by a team of specialists from Belarus, Slovakia, Poland and Czechia and the art therapy holiday camp in Czechia.

At the moment, there are 1,699 prisoners in Belarus have been recognised as political. Since August 2020 when the post-election repressions in Belarus began, more than 2700 people were convicted in political criminal cases. Many of them have families and children, who because of repression against their relatives found themselves in very difficult situation. Some of them, for security reasons, left Belarus, so they additionally struggle with the problems of emigration. Helping the families of political prisoners is an important element of supporting the prisoners themselves. The inhumane conditions in Belarusian prisons and physical and psychic torture, the victims of which are often political prisoners, make the process of returning to normal life usually longer than the sentence itself. Knowing that their loved ones are taken care of, allows them to survive (when they are in prison) and recover (after being released). In this pilot project, some of the children from Belarus in Poland will receive therapeutic support. The form of art therapy will make it available to families who, for various reasons, do not want to use traditional psychological consultations. This form is also extremely attractive to children and as research shows effective in providing psychological support to children. A week-long trip to Czechia during the holidays will be an additional support for children and their guardians.

Leader of the project:
Malý Berlín