Youth group conducts art therapy program for flood victims

YOUTH group KARATULA (Kabataang Artista Para sa Tunay na Kalayaan), a nationwide organization of progressive youth artists, conducted the first of many art therapy programs for children in urban poor communities as part of its Sining Kalinga Relief Program.

Sining Kalinga has gathered volunteers and artists from different schools including UP, Adamson University, and Kalayaan College to encourage artists to help in the relief efforts while also utilizing their talents.

The art group launched its first art therapy in Barangay Gulod, Novaliches, an area hit hard by the monsoon floods, along with partners in the Tulong Kabataan Volunteer Network of which Sining Kalinga is part of.

While relief operations were going on, children who had not been to school in a week were taught origami and basic drawing, and had a reader’s theater session. The children were given an opportunity to learn and explore the nature of tragedies and floods through artworks.

Origami folded into cranes represented the aspirations of children whose hopes need to be reignited in light of the traumatic experience of this kind of disaster.

“These types of calamities don’t need to happen to children, and making artworks is one possible way for therapy,” said Jay Del Rosario, National Vice President of KARATULA. “The dreams of children for a bright future can be enforced by serving the people as a whole. Art is something that can teach this to them and to all,” he added.

The reader’s theater session showcased abilities of KARATULA and Sining Kalinga volunteers as they depicted the effects of the calamities and how it affected millions of Filipinos. The art session was meant to clearly explain to children that while tragedies are hard for all of us, “we all have the power to change society if we foster solidarity amongst ourselves” said Jed Aquino, Secretary General of KARATULA.

“Art and theater can explain things in much simpler ways while sparking creativity that children need in order to realize that the problems they face are also being felt by other Filipinos,” Aquino added.

KARATULA plans to conduct Sining Kalinga operations in other communities throughout Metro Manila as artists continue to register their concerns and interest in the cause.

“We need to change how the government attends to issues like disaster preparedness, and we as artists need to provide a venue for advocacy and introduce these issues to children as well. Communities that are vulnerable to floods due to lack of social services such as proper housing must be prioritized” Del Rosario concluded.

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