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.
Aug 17, 2015

Books to child laborers in Mindanao

CANVAS partnered with the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education Research (EILER) to give books to children who work in palm, sugar and banana plantations, and mining sites in Davao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley, and Bukidnon, provinces with the highest rates of child labor in the country.

Poverty in these areas drives children as young as five years old to help augment their family’s income by working as harvesters, loaders, fruit peelers, gold panners, and helpers in plantations and mining sites. They often forgo schooling and play – usual features of a child’s life – and are instead exposed to the dangers of heavy physical work, chemical pollution, and unsafe working conditions.

From March to July 2015, child laborers in various Bata Balik-Eskwela learning centers in these poor areas of Mindanao received 300 full-color storybooks.

They received two books: Message in the Sand and Five Years of Looking for Juan. The first book, written by Charmaine Aserappa and illustrated by Roel Obemio, tells the story of a boy whose protest and determination saved the sea from the pollution of a local mining company; while the second, Five Years of Looking for Juan features selected artworks and essays about what it means to be Filipino.

According to EILER, the books were brought "to far-flung rural communities with not enough paved roads and transportation system. Children who would want to go to school and receive proper education would normally walk tens of kilometers for hours back and forth to get to the nearest public school and read books, provided that the school has a library. In fact, the books from CANVAS were the first books received by child laborers, and instead of holding farm and mine equipment, the children were elated to hold and read their very own books!... Upon receiving the books, the children immediately and excitedly skimmed through the books’ pages and colorful illustrations."

 

We realize of course that it is difficult to know exactly how much impact these books, published and given away with your generous help, really have on the lives of the children who receive them.

At the very least, however, know that the books serve as a break from their usual reality of everyday toil. These books allow them to be kids again, even for just a fleeting moment in time. These books help to spark imagination, hope and a sense of possibility.

Seen in this light then, it is a priceless gift that the children receive from you. Thank you for your continued support and belief in the power of books and reading!

 

*** The Bata-Balik Eskwela Learning Centers are part of the Community-based Approach in Combating Child labor in Hazardous Industries in Plantations and Mining project. This project is funded by the European Union under the European Initiative for Human Rights and Democracy (EIDHR). It focuses on reintegrating child laborers in hazardous industries, plantation and mining to formal education through transitional non-formal learning centers where child laborers will be given the opportunity to return to formal school and exercise their basic right to education.

The local proponents of the project are the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD).

Links:

May 26, 2015

A Report from the Field

Students from CENTEX Manila
Students from CENTEX Manila

As you're probably aware, CANVAS partners with numerous individuals and organizations to bring our books directly to children all over the Philippines. These partners, in addition to bringing the books to kids in poor and disadvantaged communities and public schools, also send us a brief report and pictures of their respective bookgiving events.

So this time, we thought we'd share two reports from the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX) Manila and Batangas, two schools managed by the Ayala Foundation in partnership with the Department of Education. We have kept their reports as received, and unedited.

 

This first report comes from Ms. Coleen Enriquez, a Grade 5 English teacher:

CENTEX Manila is a public elementary school situated in Tondo, Manila. The school welcomed its first batch of 75 kindergarten students in 1998. For this year the school has a total of 525 enrollees from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade. CENTEX caters to children who come from economically challenged families that deserve quality education to help them lead a better and brighter future. These children are given the best quality of education that will guide them and discover for themselves their capabilities and enhance talents. 

Recently the school received book donations from the Center for Art, NewVentures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS.) The students were very excited upon seeing the books given to them. They immediately browsed through the books, eager to read as they turned each page of the storybooks. These books enrich our students’ learning experience since stories are fun, motivating, and help develop positive attitudes in the children. The books also provided them the opportunity to hone social skills as they shared their thoughts, opinions, and feelings about the stories they’ve read to one another.

The storybooks are also used as a resource material in facilitating Philosophy for Children sessions in each class. This approach aims to enhance the students reasoning and critical thinking skills. It taps into the child’s natural curiosity and assists them in finding meaning, encourages learners to ask questions and explore issues, ideas and concepts that are relevant to their lives. This helps them develop the qualities that make for good judgment in their everyday life.

 

And, this second report comes from Ms. Rhea Medilla and Ms. Sheryll Taroma, elementry school teachers and class advisers for Grades 3 and 6, respectively:

CENTEX Batangas, located in Bauan, is one of two schools managed by Ayala Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), corporate sponsors, and the local government unit. The school offers education from Kindergarten to Grade Six, and aims to provide bright but economically disadvantaged children with an education equal to that of the best private schools in the country. CENTEX believes in improving the physical, financial, and human resources of an ordinary public school and seeks to be a model for private and government partnership.

Last July 2, CENTEX Batangas received a book donation from CANVAS Philippines. A total of 525 books of various titles were donated to the school. These included Earth Tales, Tahan na Tahanan, Ang Batang Maraming Bawal, The Cat and the Bat and Other Fables, Nadia and the Blue Stars, and Rizalpabeto.

This generous contribution of CANVAS provided opportunity for children at the primary level to exchange opinions and ideas about topics such as caring for the environment, through the stories they’ve read. Certainly, the love for reading is reinforced in the students. 

In the Intermediate level, books such as The Cat and The Bat and Other Fables, Nadia and the Blue Stars and Rizalpabeto were distributed to students from Grades 4 to 6. Rizalpabeto has been a useful resource for our Filipino teachers. Since the selections are written in Filipino, teachers have used the poems as part of the motivation and presentation of their lessons. The students, on the other hand, gained meaningful reflections while reading these books during their free period. According to the children, they found the poems helpful and relevant because the literary pieces allowed them to gain a better understanding about the life of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Other students who received the book of fables found the stories fascinating and meaningful as well. These fables promoted values and morals that can be applied in their daily life. They gained a better appreciation of the stories through the Tagalog translation. 

The story of Nadia and the Blue Stars easily became a favourite among students given its touching narrative. Definitely, this book allowed students to appreciate literature and art as well. Seeing the captivating illustrations in the book challenged a handful of students to develop their skills in art.

The entire school community is grateful for the book donations received. This has certainly helped the school in developing our children’s love for reading since the books appealed to the needs and interest of our students. More than just enjoying reading, they are books that provide lessons applicable to everyday life.

 

To everyone of you, again, from the bottom of our hearts, and on behalf of tens of thousands of children all over the Philippines, THANK YOU!!!

Grade 2 students in a book reading activity
Grade 2 students in a book reading activity
Students from CENTEX Batangas
Students from CENTEX Batangas
Books for Kindergarten Children
Books for Kindergarten Children

Links:

Mar 6, 2015

Bringing Our Books to Truly Remote Communities

CANVAS books delivered by Cordillera Trust
CANVAS books delivered by Cordillera Trust

For this report, we highlight and recognize just two of our partners who have quietly helped to bring our books into the hands of children in some of the most beautiful yet remote places of the Philippines.

Thank you to the 12th Marine Battalion for bringing our books into the hands of 2,255 pupils of ten primary and elementary schools in Southern Palawan last December 2014. In some cases, they had to navigate 10 kilometers of rough and rugged terrain over 2-3 hours using carabaos to carry and deliver the books to some of the schools in the area!

Thank you, too, to the Cordillera Conservation Trust, which works in some of the most important ecological areas not only in the Philippines but in the world. Much of their work consists in working with public elementary schools, teaching children how to build and maintain their own forest nurseries, and guiding them in their growth as young environmentalists. In their report to us, they said that they chose the remote village communities around Mount Pulag. These villages have some of the most remote schools they currently work in, where each village requires a minimum of 4-5 hours of walking or a scary motorbike ride through some single track footpaths.

Giving books to children is fulfilling work. But if delivering them “all over the Philippines” is to include the farthest corners of the country, as described above, it can at times also be difficult and committed work.

Thus, while we cannot name them all, we do wish to thank the increasing number of partner institutions, organizations and individuals who have taken our mission to heart.

And we wish to thank you all, for us and on behalf of the children of the Philippines, for your continued support. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again and again and again… all these were made possible by your generous belief in what we do. Thank you!

Falling in line to get a book
Falling in line to get a book
Beautiful children with beautiful books
Beautiful children with beautiful books
Thank you, 12th Marine Battalion!
Thank you, 12th Marine Battalion!
More beautiful children with more beautiful books!
More beautiful children with more beautiful books!
 
   

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