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ARMENIA: Children show the therapeutic power of drama

Three children standing in the foreground during a performance with, one child performer is watching them in the background
"Some of the young performers" Photo credit: The Armenian Mirror-Spectator / Margarit Piliposyan of Fund for Armenian Relief

"In recent years, numerous governments and public institutions have devoted increasing attention to promoting harmony among diversity in society. While political bodies may have established legal guidelines for integrating persons of different backgrounds, cultures and personal capabilities, creative approaches by therapists in the cultural realm have developed exciting results in theater. Drama therapy has proven to be an effective means for individuals to interact on a metaphorical level, to play roles in fictional narratives that allow them to deal with difficulties, whether real disabilities or emotional, psychological barriers to healthy social interchange. And in so doing on the stage, they educate audiences to tolerance and inclusivity."


"And for children it can be great fun. That is the experience of youngsters participating in projects of the Republican Pedagogical-Psychological Center (RPPC), established in 2017 as the reorganized successor to the Yerevan Center for Medical-Psychological-Pedagogical Assessment. Working as a government-regulated institution, the RPPC coordinates pedagogical and psychological assistance to children, deals with special needs and seeks to enhance their academic and social lives. It provides the necessary training facilities and services to personnel at all levels involved in the work. It cooperates with state, international, and non-governmental organizations, as well as various Ministries of the Republic of Armenia and institutions of advanced education.

In March 2022, the RPPC launched the MIASIN (Together) inclusive theater studio, under Marine Asatryan. Asatryan, who has been working with youngsters in art projects since 1988, has specialized over the past 15 years in using play-acting to enhance inclusiveness. The studio project currently has 12 children (4 boys and 8 girls), some of them with disabilities. Its purpose is to foster creativity in the children, increasing their awareness and acceptance of themselves and others, with their strengths and weaknesses, and thereby facilitating their social integration. Success in these endeavors contributes to raising awareness and acceptance of diversity among all social layers."

To learn more, read the full article by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator.


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