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!
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