History & Research

This was the first time for Sanne Haanraads to travel to Sierra Leone and to stay away from home for four months (September – January 2010). She started her research about Art Therapy in a post war country. The main question of the research was: What role can creative therapy play for the victims of the war in Sierra Leone (today all young adults), to come to terms with their war memories/traumas.

Together with Alpha Kamara she has conducted practical experiments (the making of drawings about a specific topic followed by a presentation) in four cities. They started in Freetown, later on they went to Makeni and Koidu and they finished their practical experiment in Bo. In all of the four towns a group of local youths were gathered to take part of the drawing lessons. Alpha and Sanne stayed for three days in each town and made the students draw about their present, past and future. At the end of the third class the youths were asked to fill out some questionnaires.

The presentThe pastThe future 

Once Sanne was back in Holland she continued her research with Simone Bonfrer. Together they have supplemented the practical experiment with a literature study on creative therapy and how to come to terms with trauma. As a result of this research they developed the FYM Module.
In November Free Your Mind won the Albert Schweitzer Prize. This is a prize given to youth in the Netherlands, to stimulate a starting development initiative, focused on several health care issues in sub-Sahara Africa.

Certificate of City CouncilSanne went back to Sierra Leone for ten months (February – December). Together with Alpha she continued the development of Free Your Mind in Sierra Leone. At the start they were working in the community Kroo Bay with both youths and kids. They wanted to expand the amount of youths but there were some problems. The main problem they were facing was that no organization wanted to work with them because Free Your Mind was not a registered organization. So they started the procedure of registering Free Your Mind by the government of Sierra Leone. In July the registration was complete and in October they found a place for the Free Your Mind centre and office. This was the start of an enthusiastic group of FYM youths and the first time the FYM Module was officially given.

Sanne is back in the Netherlands and Alpha is keeping Free Your Mind running together with the other volunteers. A new group of youths has started with the FYM Module and some small projects have been organized. Currently steps are undertaken to set up a support organization in the Netherlands. In order to get sponsors a more European way of reporting the financial and daily activities is necessary. With the assistance of Sanne Alpha and the volunteers are improving their reporting skills.


The research Alpha, Simone and Sanne conducted was about creative therapy in a post war country. The research consisted of practical experiments in different towns in Sierra Leone and a literature study that has been done to support the results of the experiments.
To read the complete summary of the research please click here.

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