art therapy mural

Naropa Community Art Studio-International

 In February of 2013, Lotus Outreach and the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS) established a partnership for the Counseling and Reintegration program in Cambodia. The NCAS team conducted a first week of training in mid 2013, and returned to Cambodia for a second intensive training this summer. Learn more and read testimonials from Art Therapy students


In January of 2011, a faculty member and 2 art therapy graduate students at the Naropa University began to entertain the idea of taking art therapy to work with social justice organizations abroad. In a matter of a few months these three organized a team of passionate art therapy students, created a sound fundraising plan and joined in partnership with Transitions Global, a non-profit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia that works to support and empower survivors of sex trafficking and Anjali House in Siem Reap that provides education, health care, food and clean drinking water to impoverished children needing support. Naropa Community Art Studio – International was born!

Since then we have been wildly blessed by community support and have currently raised over $40,000 through innovative fundraising and received a $25,000 grant from the Jenzabar Foundation to be distributed over the next three years so we may continue our work with Transitions and Anjali House and broaden our service learning to partner with other organizations in Cambodia as well. We made our first trip to Cambodia in May 2012, with 7 students and 1 faculty and we will be returning in May of 2013 with 11 students and 2 faculty. On this trip we will be extending our service learning to include 4 more organizations! Missionaries of Charity, an orphanage that houses abandoned babies as well babies affected by HIV/Aids, Women's Handicraft and Development Association a cooperative consisting mainly of women and young people from traditional farming families living and working in Cambodia's rural Chamcar Bei village that produces handmade original pieces from local resources as well as using plastics to make recycled products, Chab Dai, a coalition that aims to address human trafficking and exploitation through coalition building, advocacy and research and Raggamuffin, a creative arts center in Phnom Penh committed to the relief of emotional pain and psychological damage in children and adults.

The intention behind this project is for our students to learn about the diverse issues in the Cambodian culture while also offering art therapy as means toward healing. With social justice as a cornerstone of our mission we aim to bring awareness to the many human rights concerns that plague the Cambodian people.

We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from people all over the world in making this a sustainable and mutually beneficial project for all parties involved. It really does take a village...a global one.


NCAS-I expands the boundaries of the Naropa University Community Art Studio from local to global. Rooted in the principle of collaboration and a belief in the innate wisdom, creativity, and interdependence of all, we, the art therapy graduate students and faculty, seek active engagement with social justice organizations around the world. We will use art therapy practices to help relieve suffering and maintain a vision of unity, as guests and learners in the communities we serve.

To learn more about our project please follow us at