Developing a Safe, Nurturing and Therapeutic Environment for the Families of the Garbage Pickers in Guatemala and for Disabled Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina
This chapter focuses on the role of natural places in rebuilding children’s lives concurrent with a disaster, and on how the rebuilding of a place for safe play, learning and skill building can help children endure and move beyond the immediate effects of the disaster in the red zone. Through the exploration of two case studies, in Guatemala City and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively, we show how garden creation and natural space design play a role in recovery after disaster.
Cast out of their villages, Mayans resettled around the garbage dump in Guatemala City. In 2004, children were banned from the dump and now stay at home without supervision. In 2006, the University of Washington Landscape Architecture Design/Build Program designed a portion of their school facilities and assisted the community in transforming the donated decommissioned dump site into a therapeutic garden. This environment is designed to help the children learn about the natural world, their culture, science, math and writing, gain vocational skills, and ultimately reconstruct their lives in a healthier and constructive direction.
Surviving years of ethnic cleansing, disabled children in Bosnia and Herzegovina face severe discrimination in their villages. Families are left to care for their children suffering from autism and other disabilities with little support. Many have self organized and advocate for and provide care to their children. Many of these providers suffer from their own war related injuries. In 2009, we collaborated with the Community Gardening Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina to create gardens to meet the rehabilitation and therapeutic goals of two associations serving disabled children. The gardens are designed to offer a variety of support activities including horticultural therapy, drama, music and art therapies, active recreation and contemplative escapes.
KeywordsTrauma Resilience Squatter communities Therapeutic interventions Education/learning
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