In February 2005, the Sri Lankan NGO, Aqua Heritage Trust, invited Graham Peebles to design & deliver a ‘Healing through Art’ programme in Pettigalla Watta, Galle, Sri Lanka. This initial seven-week programme was the beginning of eight-months work in southern Sri Lanka and led to the founding of The Create Trust.
Pettigalla Watta refugee camp. Galle. February – March & September – October 2005: We ran creative education workshops with around 30 children and worked with the whole community on a series of beautification schemes, awareness raising exercises and moral boosting endeavors. Self-respect and social unity was at the heart of all the work. A photographic project, ‘Family Friends and Home’ formed a part of the project – see the children’s photographs here.
Unawattuna refugee camp. September – October 2005: In the center of Unawattuna this refugee camp housed a community of 70-80 people. We worked with the children, running creative education workshops for six weeks, delivering three sessions per week, to between 30 and 40 children.
Kasbapana refugee camp. Sept/Oct/Nov 2005: This camp outside Galle accommodated a community of around 90 people, including 40 or so children. We worked in the camp three days a week for three months. Visual art workshops were conducted with children and young people, ranging from six to 17 years of age. From February to April 2006 we continued the project started in September 2005, with more photography and a series of Visual Art and Dance & Movement workshops.
Thellwatta, Hikkaduwa. April/May 2005: A very large refugee camp just outside Hikkaduwa. ‘Create’ worked here in conjunction with Danish Peoples Aid, running photographic workshops for some of the 200 or so children and teenagers in the camp. We instigated a photographic project, distributing disposable cameras and asking the group to make images of their ‘Families Friends and Homes’.
Akura, Hikkaduwa. April/May 2005: In the sister camp to Thellwatta, we again teamed up with Danish Peoples Aid, conducting a related photographic project with children and teenagers from the camp. In total 42 children took part in the photographic project.
Teacher Training Programme. March/April 2006: Graham Peebles was invited by the Galle Divisional Education Department to give a series of talks at the Ruhuna National College of Education. The talks focused on the underlying purpose of education, and how educators can best enable children/young people to explore their creative abilities and fulfill their innate potential. The impact of sociological and psychological conditioning was examined, in what proved to be a series of lively, interactive debates.