Frequently asked questions

For which children and situations is Expressive Sandwork suitable?

Expressive Sandwork is a resource-oriented therapeutic method for children from age 5 to 15
  • with PTSD caused by the conflict in Donbass (Ukraine 2016 – 2022)
  • who are exposed to neglect, abandonment, domestic violence, and poverty in socially vulnerable neighborhoods
  • who live in criminal neighborhoods, “child headed families” (South Africa, Colombia, and Argentina).
  • who suffer from collective trauma because of war and forced migration (Palestine, Colombia, Malaysia, and Germany).
  • who suffer loss and grief from natural catastrophes (Earthquakes 2008 in Sichuan Province, China; 2009 in Tibet and 2011 in Italy).
  • with special mental needs (China and Colombia).
  • with special physical needs; for example children with cleft lip and cleft palate syndrome (Bogotà, Medellin, Kali – Colombia).
  • with special educational needs (Romania).
  • having been exposed to sex traffic and prostitution (Colombia and Malaysia).
  • with life-limiting illnesses (Colombia).
  • with chronic illnesses (diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal problems) and consequently hospitalizations for several months: (Colombia).
  • waiting for adoption (Colombia and Argentina).
  • destined to remain in orphanages and child-care centers until adult age (Palestine, Romania, and China).

How can I become an IAES volunteer/facilitator?

To become an IAES volunteer/ facilitator you need to participate in a sandwork project which lasts for 3 months and is offered by 2 certified IAES trainers.
The project consists of:
  • the initial training of 25 hours (usually a Friday and Satuday for two consecutive weekends);
  • weekly sessions with the children for 12 weeks;
  • regular support meetings throughout the project (after the group meeting on weeks 4, 8 and 12);
  • a final description and report of the experience by the volunteer/facilitator.

How is the initial training of 25 hours structured?

The training includes:
  • theory,
  • self experience (2 sessions) and
  • practical, organizational aspects and logistics.

Where are IAES trainings being offered?

A new IAES training can take place anywhere, wherever a group of people is willing to organize it. In other words: if you are interested in becoming a sandwork volunteer/facilitator you will need to organize a sandwork project in your own country. IAES can be contacted and every effort will be made to support that effort by IAES members.

Does IAES offer internships in other countries?

The priority is to train local volunteers. Therefore, at this time we do not offer internships.

What do I need to organize a sandwork project?

  • A local partner institution that is in contact with children in need that can also provide the venue where the sessions can occur. The materials (including sandboxes and selection of miniatures) can be provided either by the local organisers or by the partner institution.
  • 6 to 16 adults, who are willing to volunteer and commit to weekly sessions for 3 months.
  • 6 to 16 children.
  • An invitation to 2 certified IAES trainers for 10 days to organise and facilitate the initial training of volunteers.

What will the IAES trainers ask for reimbursement?

Air fare, accomodation and meals for this first 10 days of the training period and reimbursement for the support sessions throughout the 3 months duration of the program (face to face or through conference calls via Skype). The reimbursement will be negotiated in each place according to the economic situation of the partner institution.

What is the best age for the children to do sandwork?

6 to 12 years.

Is there a selection process for the children?

All children can participate, including children with special needs and physical conditions. Most children that participate in the programes, however, are selected by teachers, caregivers, social workers, and others because of difficulties and challenges the child is experiencing.

Who invites the children for a sandwork project?

Local teachers, caregivers, and/or local social workers.

Is there a selection process for the volunteers?

The volunteers have to go through a selection interview. Empathy and a capacity to be a silent, non- judgmental witness are important requirements.


Even a small donation can help a lost child.

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