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Art therapy for people with disabilities in Tunisia

Construction of a therapeutic cultural center in Sidi-Thabet, north-west of Tunis

Gaïa-Ferme Thérapeutique pour Handicapés is an association that helps mentally disabled children and adults aged 6 to 30. Most of these people come from modest rural families. The association offers all of them an environment and activities that promote their wellbeing and self-esteem. The Air Liquide Foundation is renewing its support for Gaïa.

A therapeutic farm

The families are often overwhelmed by their child's mental disability. Gaïa offers holistic care for these people thanks to:

  • a team of specialists including a social worker, a speech therapist, a psychologist, a special needs physical education teacher, a horse-riding instructor, professional trainers, and zootherapy workshop teams
  • multidisciplinary activities
  • a customized program created in collaboration with the families

The association helps around 70 people per year.

 "Before I knew the farm, every day was the same! At Gaïa, every day is a pleasure."

Gaïa-Ferme Thérapeutique pour Handicapés

A therapeutic program with a focus on agriculture...

Children are offered several therapeutic activities involving pet therapy or zootherapy, including horse-riding and workshops with small farm animals (rabbits, goats, etc.).

Zootherapy makes it possible to work on notions such as self-confidence, overcoming phobias, balance, autonomy, and responsibility.

The association has also chosen to use organic farming as the main activity for the social integration of these youths. Those aged over 16 can follow vocational farming courses to help them find a job in the region

 Zootherapy makes it possible to develop notions such as self-confidence, overcoming phobias, balance, autonomy, and responsibility.

… and art therapy

Gaïa includes art therapy in its program for the development of behavioral capacities and relationship skills. The center offers activities such as music, theater and dance. The associations' workshops are unique in that they involve the outside world. The activities are done in pairs, with beneficiaries from the Farm and secondary or high-school students from a nearby school. The objectives are twofold:

  • Strengthening ties between the young people of Sidi Thabet and people suffering from disabilities
  • Promoting culture among youths as a rampart against exclusion and extremism

Gaïa is building a space devoted to art therapy, which will be the Farm's cultural center.

The Air Liquide Foundation's contribution

The Air Liquide Foundation is helping to renovate Gaïa's cultural center and buy sound equipment.