Give Books to Children in the Philippines

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


Below is a report from the Pandoo Foundation, one of CANVAS' partners in the field who, last February, helped to distribute copies of "Inang Kalikasan's Bad Hair Day"!

These books are among the thousands of copies - more than 100,000 now! - that were made possible by your continued generosity and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

You can read the story, and view the artworks for "Inang Kalikasan's Bad Hair Day, by clicking here.


Last February 10, 2016, the Pandoo Foundation team went to Umapad Elementary School in Mandaue City, Cebu to ask three Grade 5 classes to help solve Inang Kalikasan’s (Mother Nature's) problem. Through a felt board-inspired storytelling technique, Teacher Mel and Kuya Paolo told the story of “Inang Kalikasan’s Bad Hair Day”, an original children's story from the Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development (CANVAS).

For this book giving and storytelling activity, we focused on the theme “the process of problem solving”. With each new page, the children learned about Inang Kalikasan’s problem and the different solutions that were offered to solve it. Our storytellers kept the students engaged by asking questions and involving them in finding a solution for Inang Kalikasan’s problem.  

After the storytelling, Teacher Gen and Teacher Julia, as well as our volunteer Stephanie, asked the students some questions that 1.) checked their comprehension of the story, 2.) stimulated their imagination, and 3.) encouraged them to express their opinions. After the question and answer portion, we did an activity called “Problem Solving with Images”.

We asked students to pick an image or scenario, which they then showed or read to the whole class. We also asked different students to roll a dice. The number displayed on the dice was the number of solutions that the class needed to come up with in order to solve the chosen problem. The students were hesitant to participate at first. But encouraging them, they started speaking up and offering different solutions to the problems presented.  

At the end of the activity, we revealed to the students that we were giving them their very own copy of the book “Inang Kalikasan’s Bad Hair Day”. In all three classes, the children were happy to hear the news. They became even more excited when we encouraged them to write their names on the space provided in the book.

It was such a heartwarming sight to witness!   We gave away a total of 175 books to Grade 5 students. However, they weren’t the only ones who received a book that day. We also gave five teachers a copy of the book which they can share to the whole class.  

Teacher Kit prepared a lesson plan for the story: a set of comprehension questions, and a Word Search/Fill In The Blanks activity sheet. We hope that by providing the teachers these resources, they can make the most of the book.  

Imagine what we can do to solve the problem of functional illiteracy if we just spend enough resources on teacher training, quality teaching material, as well as quality and age-appropriate books. A better world is in store for us all if we establish in children a love of learning, strong communication skills, critical thinking, and creativity. Pandoo Foundation is happy to have participated in CANVAS’ One Million Books for One Million Filipino Children Campaign!


Just a brief update from one of our partners in the field:

Earlier this year, the Philippine Development Initiatives and Assistance for the Rural Sectors (PDIARS), a research and advocacy institution focused on farmers and fisherfolks, helped to distribute our books to 30 children living in Sitio Catmon in Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) Rizal.

Sitio Catmon is an upland (mountain) farming community. Most of the residents, especially the peasant women rely on farming seasonal and indigenous vegetables and fruits such as banana, avocado, sweet potato tops, eggplant, etc.  They would later sell their produce to a nearby private subdivision, or at town. Men usually drive passenger tricycles, work at construction sites, or at the batching plant.

PDIARS partnered with Amihan, a national organization of peasant women for the bookgiving activity. Two books focused on the environment, “Inang Kalikasan’s (Mother Nature’s) Bad Hair Day” and “Message in the Sand” were given away. To complement and deepen the event, concepts of environmental protection as well as climate change were also introduced to the children.


*** To date, CANVAS has given away nearly 90,000 books to children in disadvantaged communities all over the Philippines such as Sitio Catmon. This would not have been possible without your continued and generous support.

From the bottom of our hearts, and on behalf of all the children who have received books to call their very own, Thank You!


Some of the Lumad children
Some of the Lumad children

Lumad is a collective term, meaning homegrown or indigenous. Among those usually included as Lumad are the Subanen, B’laan, Mandaya, Higaonon, Banwaon, Talaandig, Ubo, Manobo, T’boli, Tiruray, Bagobo,Tagakaolo, Dibabawon, Manguangan, and Mansaka. They are among the poorest and marginalized in the Philippines.

Ironically, many of them live in areas of the Philippines thought to be rich in natural resources and minerals. But, not only do they not partake of the fruits of these riches, they are often caught in the crossfire - both literally and figuratively - of competing economic and political players. 

EIGHT hundred Lumad arrived in Manila late in 2015. They had traveled from different parts of Mindanao to bring their stories to Manila, demand justice for their dead, and fight for peace in their communities. 

Among the contingent were some 100 children and adolescents. CANVAS took the opportunity to learn from their stories, share with them some of our own stories, and work with theater actors who generously gave their time and talent to entertain the children with an interactive and creative storytelling session.

Each child then received one of our books.

It was not a trivial gift - for some of them, it was the first book they would get to call their own. More importantly, for these children, caught as they are in circumstances and challenges we can only imagine and try to understand, these books take on a special meaning. 

The stories provide them with a sanctuary... a safe haven... even for just a short while. And because the children get to own the books that we bring - books that we could not have published without you - they get to take that sanctuary back home with them. 

On their behalf, we thank you all for your continuing support and generosity. We are all truly and sincerely grateful.

A storytelling session for the children
A storytelling session for the children
Rapt attention
Rapt attention
A theatrical reading of the story
A theatrical reading of the story
A book to call their own
A book to call their own


"My daughter
"My daughter's a fighter."

We went to the cancer ward of the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) this morning to give away our books. We brought along our resident caricaturist, Bobbi Jolbitado, and gave his art as our Christmas gift to the kids and their parents. This man asked Bobbi to portray his daughter as a warrior because she's a fighter. 

We thought we'd share this heartwarming moment with all of you.

You should also know that we gave 500 copies of our latest children's book "Inang Kalikasan's (Mother Nature's) Bad Hair Day" to the PCMC for their outreach activities this Christmas Season.

Thank you for your continuing support!

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! :-)


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.  



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Organization Information

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

Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila - Philippines
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Gigo Alampay
Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines

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