THE MARGARET CLEMONS FOUNDATION (MCF) is a New York based non-profit organization with a mission to stop violence against women and children through the arts. In teaching and therapy and community outreach, the arts contribute to powerful social change that increases equity and justice and supports peace and harmony.

Violence against women and abuse of children has exacted huge social and financial tolls on communities worldwide and continually bring harm to all aspects of society. The MCF supports programming that creates sustainable change through creative and integrated learning, expressive therapy, and community art initiatives. Changing attitudes and social practices that currently contribute to violence and aggression calls for innovative programs designed to make lasting difference.

Leaders in the arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA have collaborated with MCF to develop a plan for introducing creative learning and expressive arts therapy to various institutions in Guyana, such as schools, law enforcement, social service organizations and health care. An evaluation of the implementation of such a plan in Guyana (South America) will lead to the creation of a template for other programs in countries that suffer from similar high rates of violence and abuse.

Guyana offers a unique location to implement programming. Its current social climate is marked by daily acts of violence against women and children as documented by the online press (Stabroek News, Kaiteur News, etc.). These reports are representative of systemic, imbedded violence also found in other countries in the Caribbean region (see CARICOM www.caricom.org/). Violence against women and children takes place within families across all social strata while family members, neighbors and friends stand by frozen by their own inability to act on what they know to be wrong. While Guyana is a country with a pronounced problem of gender inequality and violence against women and children, it has a motivated government willing to collaborate with others to address the issue of violence. The government of Guyana is proactive in its efforts to stem and reverse the tide of violence and has been enthusiastic in it response to MCF’s invitation to participate in the launch and implementation of creative learning and expressive art therapy programming to address this social ill and effect lasting and beneficial societal change.