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!
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.
Just a few weeks ago, we had the privilege of hosting two GlobalGiving representatives - Sandra Dickison and Ana Calvo Langdon - who flew in to meet with various partners from the Philippines.
The timing was fortuituous, as we were scheduled to give away more than 600 books to a public school in the rural town of San Antonio some 4 hours north of Manila. In San Antonio, we partnered with Casa San Miguel, a non-profit artists' haven that also trains children in the local community in music and the arts.
Meanwhile, more books were also given away through Rock-Ed, a volunteer group working to provide venues and events for alternative education in the Philippines in another public school in the cool city of Baguio.
As we've said in our past report, In the coming weeks and months, we are now pursuing a dream, however difficult and improbable, of giving away one million books in the next five to ten years. We do hope that you will continue to support and join us in this pursuit.Again from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all of you for making it possible for us to continue getting our books into the hands of Filipino children in disadvantaged communities throughout the country!
Last month, our books hitched a ride with a group of graduate students and professors of the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences, who had embarked on a 3-week long mapping exercise of remote Batanes.
We can now say that our books have reached even the northernmost inhabited island of the Philippines - Itbayat, as well as Sabtang and the main island of Batan.
In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to post pictures of book giving efforts. Because of the continuing success of this project, and the positive feedback that we have universally received both from the communities themselves, as well as the volunteers and organizations who have been helping us to distribute the books - we are now pursuing a dream, however difficult and improbable, of giving away one million books in the next five to ten years. We hope you will continue to support and join us in this pursuit, and we will be posting a new GlobalGiving project for this dream soon.In the meantime, again from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all of you for making it possible for us to continue getting our books into the hands of Filipino children in disadvantaged communities throughout the country!
Working with various nonprofits, organizations, churches and individuals, we gave away nearly 6,500 books over the last two months. And there still are over 3,500 books that are going to be handed out.
Perhaps the response to and impact of this initiative is best captured by this email from one of our partners. We would like to share it with you mainly because their gratitude (and ours) should rightfully extend to all of you for your continued generosity and support, without which none of this would have happened.
I hope you're doing well.
We are so encouraged by this, and other messages that we have received, that we are hoping to scale the project and are dreaming even of eventually giving away one million books! Join us in the pursuit of this dream (see it here: http://youtu.be/lcTnSi_bbVc).
In the meantime, we will continue to keep you posted in upcoming reports.
Again, our heartfelt thanks and warmest regards.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.