Meet the volunteer: Stien Cosemans

Hello everybody,

Times flies while having fun, right! Hard to believe my work at Paces Crafts has already come to an end.

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Indra (general manager) often told me: ‘India, it is quite an adventure’. And yes indeed it has been a big adventure for me. I look back with so much love and gratitude on the past months.

At Paces Crafts I have mainly focused on the HR department, therefore 1 of my highlights was the “Why-workshop”. Our goal was to find the “Why-statement” of Paces Crafts where all employees can identify themselves with. We had personal conversations with all the artisans and the management staff  about their most proud moment at the company. Very touching stories came out on which we based our “Why-statement”, namely: To empower people so that, together, we can contribute to a world where everybody matters.

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Besides other HR related work, like employee evaluations and helping to set up a new management structure, I had the chance to support the communication- and finance team. It was very interesting for me to learn multiple facets within the company. Every Wednesday I gave English course to the Hindi- speaking management staff. The goal was to teach them basic questions which they can use when guests visit us. In January during a visit of one of our clients, they were tested for the first time and I was so proud. Sunita, our knitting supervisor, is normally very shy to speak English in front of other people. During the course she didn’t want other ladies to hear her speak because she was afraid they would make fun of her. I was very surprised and especially very proud when she asked in group with self-confidence questions in English to our guests.


Many unforgettable moments at work but certainly also many beautiful moments after work. And for this I have to thank the colleagues and the ladies. In advance I didn’t dare to dream of such a strong connection with all of them. Because of them I experienced the Indian lifestyle the fullest. The past months in Ranchi couldn’t have been any better. I will miss you all!

A big thank you,

Aao galey milen,


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Be our transport-savior!

We URGENTLY need to get 70 hand-looms in India and give 150 tribal women a decent job.

And a future!

Like a present out of heaven, we were given 70 never used traditional wooden handlooms that are actually stored in Antwerp. This is exactly what the poor woman need in our weaving workshop in Ranchi, India.

This is a golden opportunity, almost a miracle!

But the wooden looms have to be transported from Antwerp to Ranchi. The cheapest way is by boat. But even this has a cost.


Be the savior for 150 woman in our workshop: assure the transport of the looms and as such give these Indian women a future. For themselves and their children.

A) Buy a second hand 20 ft container that will be used for the transport and afterwards in the workshop will become an additional workplace. Cost 1.400 euro.

B) Assure the first maritime transport Antwerp - Calcutta and transport to final destination Ranchi. Cost 3.500 euro

C) Assure the second shipment to Ranchi. Cost 3.500 euro

If you sponsor for the complete cost of option A: your name will be painted on the container that will become a workplace in Ranchi.

If you sponsor for the complete cost of option B or C: your name will be painted on the container and also will forever be on the walls in Solids workshop in Ranchi.

Of course, you will be fully updated about the progress and the project.

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Anyhow, any contribution is welcome. Any contribution will give underprivileged woman in Ranchi, India the perspective of a better life.

 Make your contribution now. As such you make the urgent shipment possible!

Moreover, your contribution of 40 euro or more is tax deductible : you will receive fiscal certificate for it in 2020. So, the real cost is much lower for you : +- 45% lower.

Make your contribution on:

Banque de la poste, Rue des Colonies (P28), 1000 Brussel, Belgium
account : 000-0000004-04
IBAN code: BE10 0000 0000 0404

Reference : tge – solid - handlooms

P.S. Don’t miss this opportunity to provide a better future for underprivileged and poor woman !

Thanks !!

Any question : contact Inge 0032 473 93 76 19

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Remembering forever Maria Huasacca, a talented knitting mom of Solids workshop in Peru.

Last week Solids workshop Manta in Ayacucho (Peru) was faced with a big loss. Maria Huasacca suddenly and unexpectedly died in a traffic accident. We lost a nice colleague and a very good knitting mom. She worked in Solids knitting workshop since 2014.

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Maria was as very cheerful person, talkative, joking with her knitting colleagues. She liked knitting a lot, was a fighter and she did not give up when faced with difficulties. She was very persistent.

We remember her saying, "I can do it and I will show you. Give me a chance and I'll prove everybody...."
She always proofed herself. For example, last weeks, she finished all her garments without rejection. She was so proud and happy. And so were our clients.

She will remain in our memories and in our hearts. She will stay with Solid forever by each of her anecdotes and stories she shared during so many years. We will keep her legacy in mind: "If you are faced with difficulties, do not give up, even if everyone tells you that you will not succeed. You must continue persisting until you succeed. Work on what you like, on what you are passionate about."
Maria, we will never forget you. Our warmest condolences to her husband and 5 children. Rest in peace.


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Meet the volunteer Willemijn

Willemijn was a volunteer @ Solid Peru for 6 months


Willemijn Branderhorst is a young vibrant and highly creative Dutch therapist, that joined the team of Diamanta of Solid Peru for 6 months.

Her volunteering project was a collaboration between The Red Pencil and Solid in Peru. The Red Pencil is a Singapore based organization which brings the power of arts therapy around the world to children and families who have been through traumatic life circumstances, for which they have no words. Very often they work in conflict area or with asylum seekers.  Their programs help people heal and grow through the arts, by offering an alternative way of expression towards balance, empowerment and resilience.

Willemijn tells us something more about her experiences with Solid in Ayacucho, Peru working with vulnerable youngsters.


Making contact as an art therapist

“During the first sessions I worked together a lot, we all made art together and this way we made contact and got to know each other. We worked for example together on a large surface. With crayons we scratched on music, together we experimented with scratching hard or soft, long lines, short lines. During this collaboration I could often observe a lot. Many teenage mothers have experiences that can be labeled as harmful / traumatic in clinical context. However, they wouldn´t use the term "trauma" their selves. From their culture it is not so much viewed from that (shocking) angle, but more like something that is / is happening within their culture. The girls therefore do not understand/take it directly as harmful. However, as an art therapist, I could see the damage in their behavior within arts and observe high levels of psychological stress and anxiety in all women. This manifested itself in different ways. Through the art therapy activities, this stress can be reduced. With colleagues we looked at which girls could use extra help, they have received individual art therapy sessions in addition to group sessions.

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From the vision of the organization, the goal was to increase the self-confidence and autonomy (self-determination) of the women, in order to be able to treat psychological problems such as traumas. In the visual therapy this was translated into increasing creative self-confidence;

·      Try out new (positive) experiences / actions;

·      Take space; scratch and draw on a large sheet.

·      Express feelings and thoughts; discuss with the group, write down, expression through art

·      Making choices; choose from different materials. Choose from different pictures. Choose from different activities

·      Indicate preferences/ needs /wishes; (in the present moment) indicate that you want to do certain exercises, indicate that you want to work with a certain material, indicate you yourself want to do a certain thing.

·      Possibly: discuss dreams/wishes in group.



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Flexibility proved to be one of the most important keys during this mission. I have always attuned my attitude and art therapy activities to the current situation, as a way to guarantee a safe feeling within the therapeutic space. As a therapist you have to be sharp, especially because not all girls feel their own limits equally well. Sometimes that meant I had to adjust my attitude or the therapeutic activity. For example, I had a teenage mother in individual therapy, in which during the debriefing a lot came up, she told me a lot about her past and her family. I noticed that she was sad but also angry, I named this. She herself suppresses this, talks a lot and fiercely, but then indicates that it is "passed and accepted". What emotionally is not yet the case. I feel a lot of anger / distrust / sadness with her, and I also notice how she talks about others (negative). … She wanted to scratch with crayons. …For a few minutes she scratched very hard, she fully scratched the sheet almost on her own. Then she indicated that she was ready. "What are we going to do with this sheet?" I asked. "You want to save it or you want to throw it away maybe?". "Throw it away!" She answered immediately. I put a trash can at her. She has torn off the sheet of tape attached to the table, torn into pieces and thrown in the trash. I saw her breathe deeply several times, and she did the tearing and throwing away with attention. She was quiet (normally she talks a lot) and then said "so" ("ya"). We then put the trash can out of sight. I noticed that it was a very important experience for her (feeling, processing, taking distance, without the judgment of therapist and herself).

Train the trainer

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Besides group workshops with the children and teenagers, I gave the caregivers of Solid, as well as teachers from different high schools practical instructions on how to apply art therapy activities within their social work, or within their classes. Several came to me afterwards and told me how they managed applying art therapy within their work setting or for their selves in their free time. We raised awareness of how important expressive activities are for us people, and that there exists such a wonderful and well developed ¨science¨ as Art Therapy. That expression is therapeutic for us, and not childish at all (that's the average belief here, that drawing or painting does not serve anything).

This six month mission has been an incredible, intensive and unforgettable experience for me. Also I learned a lot from the girls and people in Ayacucho. I never wanted to miss the opportunity. The girls, the teenage moms, the Solid staff: they are in my heart forever. “



2 on 10 teenagers between 12 and 19 years become a mother in Ayacucho, Peru (Endes 2017)

Luz Milena Beltrán Apaza “Being a teenage mom is complicate, but it’s not the end of te world.


 Luz Milena Beltrán Apaza, is a young struggling teenage mom who is succeeding bur for the welfare of herself, her son and her family she keeps on figthing. She only needs opportunities to achieve her life goals. Solid is empowering her to take the opportunities she deserves . For her and her little boy.

There is an urgent need for policies and practices in the health and education sectors to reduce teenage pregnancy rates. Solid continues her fight on this!