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Give Books to Children in the Philippines

by The Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development (CANVAS)
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Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Give Books to Children in the Philippines
Books to Krus na Ligas Elementary School
Books to Krus na Ligas Elementary School

In the last three months, we continued to work with individuals and university-based organizations to bring more books to more children in more towns and communities throughout the Philippines.

Last February 27, 2014, a group of young professionals spent a birthday celebration in Brgy. Bangkal, Abukay, Bataan (a province 3 hours south of Manila) by giving away 200 books to a community of Aeta children, an indigenous minority. These young professionals have been celebrating their birthdays yearly with these children, and this year, they chose to give these children a little extra – the gift of learning to love books.

On March 4 and 5, the students from Sigma Phi Sorority and Fraternity of the University of the Philippines-Manila gave away around 150 books to pediatric patients of Philippine General Hospital. These books will serve as materials for the hospital’s Reach Out and Read program that helps parents in the early literacy development and school preparedness of their children by giving books and reading stories aloud.  Reach Out and Read is run by a group of medical practitioners who are members of a nonprofit organization of the same name.

Then, the University of the Philippines-Diliman Children’s Rights Advocates League (UP CRAdLe), gave away 400 books (a mix of three titles) to children grades 1-6 in Krus na Ligas Elementary School last March 21. This book-giving was a culminating activity for UP CRAdLe’s Pass-A-Book Project that aims to assist students who have reading difficulties. They home tutor these students diligently, hopeful in improving their reading proficiency.

Meanwhile, 650 of our children’s books are hitching a ride to more towns in the provinces of Laguna, Bohol, Batanes, Zambales and Palawan through some teachers and students of the National Institute of Geological Sciences of the University of the Philippines as they were doing fieldwork and/or are visiting to their hometowns for the summer. We will give you an update on these and more in the coming months.

And, of course, it will not end there… even as we speak, we have ordered the publication of 11,000 copies total comprising another three of our books (CANVAS Earth Tales – 3 Ecofables for Children; Tahan Na, Tahanan; and Ang Batang Maraming Bawal) from the press. These books are geared more for young readers (ages 6-10 years old).

Invariably, as you will see from the pictures below, the children and their families enjoy opening and reading their new books. For many, these books are the first they have ever held, read, and owned. Their smiles as they receive the books are unforgettable and priceless.

All these would not be possible without you! So again, on behalf of the children of the Philippines, thank you for your generous and continuing support!

Checking out the books at Krus na Ligas Elementary
Checking out the books at Krus na Ligas Elementary
Ailing children find comfort and joy in the books
Ailing children find comfort and joy in the books
Books for kids at Philippine General Hospital
Books for kids at Philippine General Hospital
Aeta children in Bataan checking out the books
Aeta children in Bataan checking out the books
Aeta children working on the book activity pages.
Aeta children working on the book activity pages.

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The book as a tool to help children heal.
The book as a tool to help children heal.

In the few months since our last update, we’ve been sending out thousands of books to various islands of the Philippines that had recently been visited by horrific calamities, both natural (Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Visayas) and caused by man (armed conflict in Zamboanga in Mindanao).

But for this update, we thought we’d highlight the activities by one of our partners – the Project Banig Zamboanga, a volunteer story-telling group who worked to provide child survivors and refugees of the armed conflict with psychosocial therapy and healing sessions.

The following is a report we received from them, with minor edits only for brevity and clarity. As you read through it, know that your support and belief in this project, and power of books and art to heal and change lives for the better is making a real difference in the lives of many children. For most, the respite may be fleeting. But we like to think of the books as ripples caused by a small stone thrown in a pond - you never know how wide a path they will travel.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!!! 

======================================= 

Last November 18, 2013, the second wave of Project Paghilom: Basic Psychosocial Intervention for Displaced Children in Zamboanga City commenced. 

Together with the Ateneo de Zamboanga University Guidance and Counselling Office and Save the Children, 28 facilitators were trained to conduct the 3-week psychosocial intervention for children displaced by the conflict. 

A total of 1,853 children would be served by these facilitators. These children would range from ages 2 years old to 17 years old.  Most of them came from indigenous tribes (Tausugs and Badjaos) and most are muslims. They all came from the 5 baranggays most affected by the stand-off.  Most of their houses were burned to the ground, so most of them had been staying in evacuation centers for more than 3 months.

As part of the pilot training,150 copies of “Nadia and the Blue Stars” were distributed to students of Talon-Talon High School.

Prior to giving them a copy of the book, Nadia was read to them and the Basic Psychosocial module that accompanied the book was conducted.  During the session, one participant (Melany) kept crying as she was doing the activity.  When she calmed down, she shared to the group that she was very angry at the MNLF and soldiers because of the havoc and destruction they caused.  Because of them, their houses got burned down and she had to bear the discomfort of living in evacuation centers. 

As the trainee facilitator, guided by a counselor, talked to her further and explained to her the similarities between her and Nadia, Melany started to calm down.  In a drawing activity that followed, Melany started to color her family blue.  She said that, “Maskin cosa pasa, hinde gad yo deha mio pamilya.” (No matter what happens, I will never leave my family behind.) 

She also shared to the group during the last session that she promised to be more like Nadia, hopeful and someone who would never give up. “Kailangan natin maging tulad ni Nadia kasi siya ang nagsysymbolize ng pag-asa.  Hindi tayo pwede mawalan ng pag-asa,” she said. (We need to be like Nadia who symbolizes hop.  We cannot lose hope.)

Another striking comment was made by Al-rashid, 16 years old.  After reading the book, he commented, “Wala talaga nananalo sa gera.  Lahat talo. Muslim. Kristyano. Lahat biktima.” (No one wins in war.  Everyone loses.  Muslims. Christians. Everyone’s a victim.)

Tetet, 6 years old, told her facilitator that she wants to be like Nadia.  She wants to be a gardener.

After giving the books to the children of Talon-Talon High School, the facilitators and the recipients made a promise.  They promised each other that they will retell the story of Nadia to their friends and families.

The second wave of Project Paghilom created a tight bond between the evacuees and the facilitators.  There are still wounds too painful and too deep to heal, but the survivors have started the process of healing. 

It is the hope of Project Banig and the whole of Zamboanga that we completely heal from the wounds - physical, emotional, and psychological - brought about by the siege.

Reading aloud the story of Nadia
Reading aloud the story of Nadia
Facilitators' kits
Facilitators' kits
Group dynamic exercises complement the story.
Group dynamic exercises complement the story.
Your support help make moments like this possible.
Your support help make moments like this possible.

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The books help process kids' trauma from conflict.
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's story.
Creative expressions of feelings to Nadia's story.
Empathy - "Don't Lose Hope"
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"

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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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GlobalGiving away our books in San Antonio
GlobalGiving away our books in San Antonio

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!

GlobalGiving's Ana and Sandra hands out our books
GlobalGiving's Ana and Sandra hands out our books
Proud owners of new books!
Proud owners of new books!
The Joy of Books and Reading!
The Joy of Books and Reading!
Rock-Ed distributing books in Baguio
Rock-Ed distributing books in Baguio
More proud owners of new books!
More proud owners of new books!

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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.

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Organization Information

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

Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila - Philippines
Website:
Project Leader:
Gigo Alampay
Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines
$35,827 raised of $50,000 goal
 
1,394 donations
$14,173 to go
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