Art Therapy Workshop for the Kids of Cateel

Jayvie, the official photographer of the Art Therapy Workshop wrote this post about the activity. This was originally published on his blog, Tibing Lakawero


The wrath of typhoon BOPHA (Pablo) who hit the Philippines last December 04, 2012, leaves nothing but wrecked homes, bald forests, hundreds of fatalities, thousands of families homeless and a heartbreaking picture of a muddled town mercilessly ravaged by the most notorious typhoon of 2012.

Six months after the devastating event, Pens of hope in Davao and Help Cateel Movementwith the Davao Bloggers Society conducted an Art Therapy Worskhop that would help the kids of Cateel express their stress and confusion through illustrations, colors and performance art and, open a new doorway to unarticulated feelings, and shed light on the past.

Last June 8 and 9, 2013 we went to Cateel to give healing and stress debriefing to kids 11 to 12 years old. We left Davao City at around 12:30am. I was left awake till dawn from the bumpy ride. It gives me the idea of how vast the area Pablo damaged that I can’t merely describe the scene I’m seeing while we’re on our way to Cateel. It was still dawn when we reached Bagangga (one of the town that was not spared by the typhoon), Bagangga welcomed us with the horrifying view of reality. It was a total devastation. It was the exact scene I refused to believe 6 months ago. It is an image of grief, suffering, pain and sorrow. It’s still fresh from my memory the silhouette of the uprooted trees on the vast field creating flashes of the heart breaking event that killed at least thousands of people. It broke my heart in silence.

It is despairing to say that the traumatic experiences that came across their lives has already been engraved into their deepest hearts; but that never hinders our fervent hope on helping them recover from such tragedy. With the help of many kindhearted souls who donated art materials such as crayons, pencils, eraser, oil pastels, oslo papers, drawing books, envelopes, cash in kinds for funds and the prayers of our fellow Filipinos; Pens of hope in Davao, Help Cateel movement and Davao Bloggers Society was able to conduct a workshop that would help heal the wounds of the kids of Cateel. Our two-day workshop opens a window of hope for these innocent children of God.

On our first day, kuya Dan and kuya Perry taught them the basics of Art. Art is an effective outlet to bring back normalcy to the lives of these young kids. It is important that they undergo the process of stress debriefing for them to begin to accept what had happened and start rebuilding their lives.

On the afternoon, kuya Perry taught them the basics of Theatre Art. They learned the fundamentals of performing arts. These two artistic outlets can help these kids to develop and manage their behaviors, reduce stress, improve awareness and most importantly, heal themselves.

Day two was a continuation of the theatre arts workshop. It is when the kids was tasked to re-enact the heartbreaking event. This time, they seem serious and participating. Some cried while others groan. A clear sign of trauma from a frightful experience. Again it broke my heart seeing them suffer. I was left helpless, all I could do was to thank God for sparing the lives of these kids from the havoc of the deadliest typhoon Pablo.


 Our project: Art Therapy Workshop for the Kids of Cateel was able to distribute at least 70+ art materials. The two-day workshop turned out a huge success. Thanks to the parents and teachers who supported and took part in the process. But, this is just a start. Pens of hope in Davao and Help Cateel movement and Davao Bloggers Society are initially planning another workshop for the Cateelenos.

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