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GW007:Healing Hearts:The Ragamuffin Project with Carrie Herbert (Part 1)

ragamuffin project


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“Ragamuffin” is an old English word, which 300 years ago, was used to describe marginalized people – those who were unwanted.

It captures the very essence of the people that The Ragamuffin Project responds to – people that are invisible to society, or invisible within themselves.

Today’s guest is Carrie Herbert. She is the Co-Founder/Director of Ragamuffin International Arts Therapy, Training, Supervision and Consultancy Services.

She is currently based in Cambodia, where Ragamuffin has been pioneering Creative Arts Therapy training and Services since 1999.

In the first part of her interview at Giving Warriors, Carrie talks about her belief – that everyone is creative.

And creativity is a gift of healing.

In the Conversation, You Will Learn:

 ~ Nursing wounds through art – Carrie’s journey that led her to art therapy

Carrie Herbert began as a nurse. Her mission was to volunteer where help was required. Instead, she discovered the sheer number of communities that were immersed in suffering – poverty, endemics, genocide.

This was her wake up call.

~ The beginning of healing – the inspiration and establishment of Ragamuffins

Care for Care Givers – how Ragamuffins landed in Cambodia in 2001, and Carrie’s subsequent relocation.

Structure VS. Flow – While business plans are needed, the process of healing is challenging. The key lies in trusting oneself. Allow plans to flow, and listen to people.

How to be a Care Giver

The education system had been desecrated due to war. Poverty was everywhere. And yet, the spirit of Cambodia was strong.

Ragamuffins developed a program specific to Cambodia – a vocational course that advocates care for care givers.

It teaches one how to build capacity, self awareness, and engrain in oneself, the quality of being a “safe person”.

Collaboration in Cambodia – Art therapy was being transported to Cambodia, a place that had never used this method of healing.

Ragamuffins developed a model to work in partnership with people. They brought specific skills, and worked together with likeminded indigenous organizations.

Why mental illness does not fit into funding cycles – Almost one in three people in the world have a mental problem. And yet, due to its invisibility, funds are scarce.

The Honesty of a Leader – Allowing care givers and leaders to express emotions of enragement, hopelessness, grief. And then allowing them to recognize that this is not a weakness.

~ “If there is a conflict in the organization, it is a sign to look at the conflict within ourselves.”

To differentiate the suffering of others from one’s own suffering is important. And it is important to foster any practice – meditation, spirituality, retreats – that build resilience and capacity.

Part One of Carrie Herbert’s interview ends on a vital note. The non-profit world cannot be braved alone.

She advocates mental or creative supervisors. These are people who support leaders, preventing isolation. They assist leaders to lead. Supervisors help leaders to step outside their world, and maintain a sense of well being.

Just as a Formula One driver cannot win without his mechanics, and a football player without his coach, leaders and care givers cannot lead without a team.


You have to wait until Part 2 for the transformation, stay tune;-)


Will be disclosed in Part 2



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