Liberian international curator and philanthropist, Sarah Güsten-Marr, has launched an innovative project, Healing Circle, intended to bring some level of relief to abandoned Liberian refugee children in the Buduburam Refugee Camp in the central region of Ghana.
Güsten-Marr is collaborating with Ehalakasa Ghana founder, Sir Black (Kojo Yibor), to support the Abandoned Refugee Children’s Home (ARCH), an orphanage on the Buduburam Camp, through the Healing Circle initiative.
“To begin our cultural crossing initiative in the community, we have chosen to support the ARCH,” Sarah disclosed to the Daily Observer through a telephone conversation from her Yorkshire, London home in the United Kingdom.
The two have teamed up with Isaac Quaye, who has worked for an NGO for 8 years, and Güsten-Marr’s partner, Kolawole Alaile.
Mr. Alaile is a Nigerian and Mr. Quaye is of Ghanaian descent. Both men are experienced drummers and together with Sir Black and Güsten-Marr have created a drumming program in which the orphans will participate.
“This is a project supported by a Ghanaian, a Nigerian and a Liberian-German to help the Liberian orphanage in Ghana,” she said.
Alaile and Quaye are hoping that by drumming with the children they will in time feel comfortable enough to speak about their own feelings and worries, said Güsten-Marr. “This is a way of helping to release inner turmoil,” she said.
She disclosed that every 8 weeks the children will partake in the healing circle run by Mr. Alaile and Mr. Quaye. Both men will work on community team building and cleanup projects with the children.
The children are helping their community and are made to feel an important part of it, which really makes a difference, Güsten-Marr said.
If the project is maintained and the children show responsibility and general care for the community, Güsten-Marr said the children will earn 500 Ghana Cedis that will be given to their care giver for food and other necessities.
She said at the end of each Healing Circle, Alaile and Quaye will gather the children for a drumming class, discussion of the community project and the day’s events.
“When all is satisfactory a small ceremony will be held with donated Yorkshire tea and biscuits. The agreed funds will be handed over and the children can proudly deliver their earnings to their house mother, a win-win situation for all,” Güsten-Marr noted in an email.
Güsten-Marr, who was orphaned after her mother died during birth, is also the founder of Gallery GM, in Yorkshire. Sarah was adopted from Liberia as a baby by her “very loving German parents.”
“It is hard enough being a refugee. Yet to be an abandoned refugee is certainly a double blow,” Güsten-Marr said in a communication from her home in the UK.
Güsten-Marr recently visited Liberia after several years and plans to implement several projects, especially for orphans and other disadvantaged kids.
Meanwhile, Cultural Crossings has been carefully put together by the two artists who passionately believe in the importance of cultural understanding. Sir Black and Güsten-Marr regularly travel internationally and are adamant that travelling feeds the soul, and that the arts can connect people.
Meanwhile, ARCH, which received some funding in the past, is at present experiencing donor fatigue and is in need of urgent assistance.