The Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development (CANVAS)

CANVAS promotes greater awareness and appreciation for Philippine art, culture and the environment. CANVAS also explores the use of art to promote reflection, discussion and debate on selected social issues, particularly national identity, free expression and sustainable development.
Dec 3, 2013

Just a quick update

Two thousand copies of "Earth Tales" ready to go!
Two thousand copies of "Earth Tales" ready to go!

We just wanted to give an update, and to thank you all for your quick support for our project to help children deal with the trauma of displacement from Typhoon Haiyan, by providing them with books this Christmas. The response has truly been amazing and immediate. Already, GlobalGiving has sent us an initial tranche of $4,044.30 plus another $5,000.00 grant to support our project. In addition, CANVAS raised an additional $2,708.97 from our local supporters, which we matched with another $2,325.58.

To date, then, the total amount raised is already $14,078.85, and it's only been less than a month since Typhoon Haiyan!

This amount is enough to publish more than 12,000 books, in addition to helping us send trained facilitators and psychologists to provide emotional relief and support to the children. We've already began ordering several titles. In fact, the first 2,000 copies of our "Earth Tales: 3 Ecofables for Children" were delivered to us yesterday, December 2 (pictured below).1,000 copies of this book - which are appropriate for kids aged 8 and below - will be going to disadvantaged communities and public schools in the province of Zambales and the other 1,000 copies will go to children in the islands of Palawan and Leyte.

Also in publication as we speak are several thousand copies each of "Message in the Sand", "Nadia and the Blue Stars" and "Ang Batang Maraming Bawal". We are very hopeful that most of these will be in the hands of children just in time for the holiday season.  In case you're interested, all these stories, including the 3 fables that comprise "Earth Tales" (The Hummingbird; The Star Thrower; and The King and the Royal Trees) can be read and downloaded for free on our website (www.canvas.ph).

Meanwhile, we haven't forgotten the children displaced by the Zamboanga conflict that shook Mindanao several weeks before Typhoon Haiyan hit. Two thousand "Nadia and the Blue Stars" books (out of a committed 4000 copies), with a local dialect translation (chabacano), have been printed and went direct from the press to the pier, and are now sailing for Mindanao (pictured below). A local NGO called Project Banig will use our books to conduct basic psychosocial intervention for displaced children affected by the armed conflict in the city of Zamboanga.

Be assured that we'll be sure to post more updates in the coming weeks and months as we bring the books to the typhoon-ravaged communities in Central Philippines.  

For now, please do continue telling your friends about this project. Because of your generosity, we've already surpassed our initial funding goal for providing 10,000 children with 10,000 books - but really, there are many many more children who need help in understanding, coping and moving forward. 

We truly believe that our books do help to do just that. We've seen how the experience of receiving the books, and knowing that it’s yours to keep, give children real and unadulterated joy. And, in light of the recent calamity, it is also a profound reminder to them that there are people like you out there, who remember and care enough to give them these books.

Again from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Another 2000 books for children of Zamboanga.
Another 2000 books for children of Zamboanga.
Project Banig giving away some of our books.
Project Banig giving away some of our books.
Nov 7, 2013

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The books help process kids
The books help process kids' trauma from conflict.

We thought we might take this opportunity to thank you all first, again, for your continuing support for our project. And, we want to show you all how this support has and will continue to make a difference in the lives of thousands of children throughouth the Philippines.

To date, we've worked with various individuals, nonprofits, government agencies and private corporations to give away close to 30,000 books! That's 10 times what we originally were aiming for, and it all would not have been possible without each and everyone of you.

It all started with your support, quite frankly... Because of your initial and continuing participation, we managed to generate concrete success stories (as we've highlighted in our past updates) and considerable interest from other organizations and corporations who were eager to support campaigns to promote children's literacy and a love for books.

 

Your belief in our project, and the success that we've had with you, has also enhanced the project in one other significant way.

By highlighting the book giving initiatives, we were able to attract grant funding from the Prince Claus Fund to commission a module that would complement one of our books, "Nadia and the Blue Stars". This module would allow facilitators to use the books as material to help children deal with the trauma of being displaced by war, typhoon, earthquakes and other calamities, which unfortunately is an all too frequent challenge in the Philippines.

It turned out to be very timely - you may have heard that armed conflict erupted in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines forcing tens of thousands of families to flee their homes. Working with "Operation Banig" (a local organization) and the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, "Nadia and the Blue Stars" and the module were translated into "chabacano" (the local dialect), and a few weeks ago, a group of facilitators in Mindanao were trained in the use of both books and module.

Last October 16-30, they then conducted a first wave of psychosocial therapy sessions for 600 children in five evacuation centers in Zamboanga City. According to the facilitators, "Nadia and the Blue Stars" was particularly impactful on the older children ranging from ten years old and up.   The story helped them in processing and expressing their emotions, and helped them realize that there can be and is hope amidst fear and turmoil.  

In the coming month, we will send another 4000 books (at least) that will be given out to 4000 children in other evacuation centers across Mindanao. We should also point out that for many of these children, these books will not only be a welcome respite - they will be the very first books they actually get to own!

 

As a parallel activity, two weeks ago, CANVAS presented Nadia and the Blue Stars in a story-telling session to 200 children of the Land Bank of the Philippines’ employees at their Halloween party on October 25, 2013 at the Land Bank Main Office. Children ages two to 12 listened to the story as its illustrations were projected on a screen.

After the story-telling session, CANVAS facilitators explained the relationship of Nadia and the Blue Stars to war and conflict and how it may reflect experiences of their fellow Filipino children in Zamboanga, Mindanao. The children were then asked to write a short letter – or create a drawing – for their Zamboanga counterparts. The letters and drawings are to be enclosed with CANVAS’ donations of the book to Zamboanga. Younger children were assisted by their guardians in writing their messages.

In this sense, the books - because of your support - not only help those in need, but also help to teach other children in more fortunate environments about empathy and the value of caring.

 

Finally, as mentioned, we started this project by aiming to give away 3,000 books. We are now dreaming much much bigger - we hope to give away 1 million books in the next five years. We don't know if we can actually do this - but we do know that with your help and support, we have a very good chance of succeeding. We hope you will continue to support and join us in this journey.

We promise to keep you posted on all developments. 

But for now, again, we thank you again... for everything!

Rapt attention to the story of Nadia.
Rapt attention to the story of Nadia.
Storytelling in an evacuation center in Zamboanga.
Storytelling in an evacuation center in Zamboanga.
Creative expressions of feelings to Nadia
Creative expressions of feelings to Nadia's story.
Empathy - "Don
Empathy - "Don't Lose Hope"
"I hope you are happy so that I will be happy too"
"I hope you are happy so that I will be happy too"

Links:

Aug 21, 2013

This book belongs to...

Excited to show off her new book!
Excited to show off her new book!

The following is an e-postcard from Sandra Dickison, a GlobalGiving Representative in the Philippines.

On Friday, June 28th Ana and I had the pleasure to join the Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) to deliver books to the San Miguel Elementary School which is about 3 hours north of Manila.  CANVAS is one of those organizations which exemplify the idea that a small group of people, following their passions, can make a big impact.

CANVAS is run by a group of artists, writers, and general supporters of the arts.  Their mission is simple: deliver books to Filipino school children.  But how they go about creating and publishing the books is pretty inspiring.  An established artist creates an image and Filipino writers use the image for inspiration to write a children's book.  Through a competition, CANVAS selects the winning story and the artist completes the illustrations for the book.  The books are then given away, free of charge, to children throughout the Philippines.  The first page of the each book reads: "this book belongs to...," inviting children to claim ownership of the book and write their name in it.

Ana and I joined CANVAS volunteers, project leaders, and their families, as well as two artists who support CANVAS, Elmer Borlongan and Plet Bolipata, to distribute the books.  Elmer actually illustrated one of the first CANVAS books.  After lunch at Elmer and Pilat’s amazing home, we went to San Miguel Elementary School where we were met by excited children, patiently waiting for us.  Ana and I jumped into the thick of things and started handing out books, written in both English and Tagalog, which tell a story that promotes peace.  The principal of the school surprised us by presenting GlobalGiving with certificates of appreciation.  It was a really amazing day.

The CANVAS team found a way to combine their passion for art with their desire to promote reading and education of Filipino youth.  With 16 books published CANVAS showcases works from some of the best young Filipino artist, as well as teaches children the value of environmental protection, peace, and Filipino culture.

Ana and I helping CANVAS hand out books
Ana and I helping CANVAS hand out books
CANVAS and the Kids - what a great day!
CANVAS and the Kids - what a great day!
Excited to start reading her new book
Excited to start reading her new book
The school even honored us along with CANVAS
The school even honored us along with CANVAS

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