Project Moendy: report from volunteer flower essence practitioner Silvana Lobo
Edited by Jann Garitty
Introduction to Project Moendy
Project Moendy was created in August 2001, as the basis of my thesis for my professional training in flower essence therapy, in Recife, Brazil; I collaborated with the Salt of the Earth Pharmacy (Farmácia Sal da Terra). I had wanted to work with a constituency of “at risk” adolescents and I perceived that due to lack of opportunity and as a consequence of social inequality, they found themselves on the streets without options or choices. These children and adolescents have nothing to eat at home, their families are dysfunctional with severe problems related to drugs, alcoholism and violence, all of which are reasons why they end up on the street.
I learned of an organization via an NGO – Grupo Ruas e Praças – and focused my work with them. With some contributions, collaborations and a kit of Bach essences, I began to work at the Educational Center – Capim de Cheiro – a small farm located 37 km from Recife – where the adolescents are taken for short periods to develop agricultural skills along with other activities.
Today, the project has extended to also serve the educators who work with the children and adolescents, and also their own families. Since its inception, I have conducted innumerable sessions and we have seen positive results: return to the family home, strengthening of family ties, and more effective participation in meetings, activities, and social relationships—in sum, a greater care and sense of self, and personal well-being.
This report recounts some of the activities of Project Moendy and the resulting impact on the teenagers in leaving the streets, distancing themselves from drugs, and integrating back into their families and society.
The individual sessions with the teenagers include:
Sessions in groups include:
Objectives of the sessions with flower essence therapy:
1. Treat traumas resulting from abandonment and various types of violence; control drug withdrawal and abstinence.
Out of necessity, I developed my own observation method with groups and adolescents. As always, they want to be together, and to avoid annoyances, boredom and arguments, I gather them together to draw. During these interactions I obtain valuable insights about each of them.
As mentioned previously, pre-adolescents are not able to identify, conceptualize or formulate their own essential needs; many adolescents simply don’t want to. We must be attentive to their emotional clues. Many times they reveal to us what is happening inside through artistic expression. According to Claudia Stern, author of Los Remedios Florales de California, “For example, a child who required Buttercup to combat his low self-esteem did a drawing of himself with family members, in which he was insignificant, the images almost disappearing.” We need and are able to see through “subconscious illustrations” what is really disturbing, complicating and blocking them. The perceived difficulties in relationships, mental blocks, reactions after individual sessions and essences can be transformed from these limiting behaviors into positive attitudes.
As time went on, I began therapy sessions with the mothers and/or families responsible for the adolescents.
Then we began to work as a team – educators, social worker and therapist – to understand the background of each adolescent. His/her necessities and obstacles are viewed in a broader context as each professional brings to the table his/her own understanding of the child or adolescent on the street, with the family, living at the farm and daily, regular contact. This inter-relation through different sources of information regarding the same individual contributes greatly and offers many insights for the subsequent therapeutic process. The exchange of information makes possible greater harmony in the process and a more acute perception in relation to the planned action/strategy for each adolescent.
I also added to the agenda of regular meetings, a conversation with some of the educators at the farm. I wanted to educate them about flower essence therapy and the opportunity to develop it as a pioneering treatment. I made a parallel between traditional medicine and the medicine of the future—that which treats the human being in its entirety—focusing on flower essences as a complementary therapy, and its principles, philosophy, and form of treatment.
Of one sample of 22 adolescents treated with essences, only 2 returned to the street. Of the rest:
“Being at home” remedies the immediate situation and shows that the treatment worked, but does not necessarily mean that the problems have been resolved. They begin to come up against the social problems that face Brazil: chronic unemployment and lack of access to professional vocational courses for those at the lower strata of society. Poverty in Brazil is characterized by misery. There are 50 million people in extreme poverty. 29.3% of the population have a monthly income of less than 80 reais/approximately $37 US per capita, what the FGV study (Fundação Getúlio Vargas) considers destitute. According to the study, this is the minimum necessary income for an individual to meet food nutrition/calorific requirements, using WHO guidelines, with prices based on those in São Paulo.
However, the fact that some of the participants have been able to completely change their lives demonstrates that it is possible to transform faults into virtues, hate to love, and dreams to reality, because every day we have a chance to define our future. Our happiness depends on our believing in ourselves and in others – this is the basis of health and change, forming a new personality, and building or rebuilding self-esteem. This also helps change our prejudiced view of these children and adolescents as delinquents without hope, with no intelligence, feelings and humanity. Everyone can change, especially children and adolescents!
Silvana has an educational background in sociology, psychology and flower essence therapy. She studied at the Social Sciences College of Philosophy of Recife, Brazil and graduated in December of 1983. She has worked since 2001 as a flower essence practitioner with Grupo Ruas e Praças – Project Moendy, attending to children and adolescents. Silvana also works with clients in her own private practice.
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