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.
Oct 27, 2015

A Report from One of Our Partners

For this update, we are posting a report from the International Development Volunteers (IDV), one of the many partner organizations that CANVAS works with, and who are crucial to bringing the books directly into the hands of children all over the Philippines.

Their report has been edited only for brevity and clarity.

Thank you, IDV! And as always, thank you to all of you! Your continuing generosity makes all these possible! :-)

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With the incredible support of CANVAS and its donors IDV conducted its second book giving event for children affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).  This event, which took place on September 9, 2015, was for children with developmental disabilities who attend the Aram Learning Studio. 

The Aram Learning Studio is a school that caters for such children who are aged from 2 and a half to 18 years old. It is situated in the centre of Tacloban City. The studio was heavily damaged during the typhoon but IDV previously provided assistance to help it recover. 

Children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, have sadly been underserved by relief organizations and the local government.  Even before Yolanda parents did not get financial support to access the special education interventions that their children need.

Most of the kids are from lower middle to upper middle class families, but the cost of this specialised education can take up much of their monthly income. The Aram Studio does the best that it can do to support these children and their families.

Many of the children have severe attention difficulties and thus their parents often find it difficult to read to them. However, the staff at Aram have special training and experience to deal with the kids and work with the parents to help them become more able to cope.

It is for these reasons that we were keen to work with CANVAS to support these kids.  The book giving provided an opportunity for the kids to not only receive a book, but also for the staff to highlight the importance of reading for the kids.

Due to the previously described attention deficit problems, it was decided not to give the books as a group, which could have been very difficult for both the kids and teachers.

Instead, each child was visited in their own learning cubicle.  These cubicles allow the children to more easily focus on their individual activities without visual distractions from other children.

IDV’s project manager Siggy and the Aram Studio teachers went from cubicle to cubicle to distribute the books and spent some time with each child individually.  The teachers used their expertise to help communicate with each child and encouraged the kids to articulate their thoughts.

Some of the kids were very shy of talking in front of Siggy, who they did not know well, but from their facial expressions it was clear that the kids were very happy with the book they received. 

Siggy was also then senstive enough to put some distance between himself and the kids and to spend a little time just observing the kids reactions.  Then the kids were more relaxed and many of them asked their teachers to read to them, or to help them read the books themselves.

This book giving event was definitely sometimes challenging, but overall the kids were very happy to receive their own books.  The teachers also said that the event gave them more experience of how to deal with similar activities in the future.  

Links:

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:

 
   

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