Dream A World Project

Dream a World:

CARIMENSA and the Development of Cultural Therapy in Jamaica

Project type: Research project
Objective: To promote resilience, increase self-esteem and improve academic performance in high-risk primary school children
Brief description: A multimodal afterschool and summer intervention for children displaying severe disruptive disorders and academic underachievement
  • Central America and the Caribbean
  • Prevention and promotion
  • Children and adolescents
  • Child behavioural and developmental disorders
  • School

Innovation summary

High-risk primary school children with severe disruptive disorders and academic underachievement are identified by primary school teachers in disadvantaged, inner-city communities of Kingston. The original Dream-a-World (DAW) Cultural Therapy model was a child-focused therapeutic model addressing disruptive conduct and academic failure without parental intervention. Group psychotherapeutic interventions have now been combined with homework supervision and remedial sessions in literacy, arts, information technology, audio-visual technology, sports and games.2

Dream-a-World Cultural Therapy aims to do the following for high-risk children:

  • Promote resilience
  • Improve academic performance
  • Increase self-control and modify mal-adaptive behaviors
  • Improve self-esteem and wholesome identity formation
  • Increase creativity and productivity

The community-level goal is to bring about behavior change that will seed communities with young people who eschew violence, substance abuse and dangerous sexual behavior, instead prioritizing achievement and gainful employment.

Impact summary

  • The initial pilot project involved 30 children in a single inner-city primary school and cost $50,000 USD over 36 months
  • A scale-up project involving 100 children has been initiated in four inner-city primary schools and is estimated to cost $300,000 USD over 26 months

“Everything that was incorporated in it [the DAW program] was tremendous during  those three weeks. I think the children need it; because [with] a lot of kids, a teachers is not going to see. I see where health, education, culture comes together and if this is there [present], very consistent, we are going to have a well-balanced individual.”


– Primary school teacher



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