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What these children paint
trees, leaves, flowers, mountains, the sky, a nipa
hut… no Spider-man, no Sponge Bob, no cars, no airplanes.
Why not? They have no
TV and no electricity in their village.
Innocent as they are because of their detachment to material
luxuries, the life of an indigenous child is far from ideal. Indigenous children are under threat from
starvation, disease and ignorance.
Compared to non-indigenous children, they are less likely to finish
elementary school, less likely to receive vaccination, and more likely
before reaching the age of five. Their
lands are being targeted by both insurgents and military forces and
cultural heritage is being stripped away from them.
Even with such grave threat looming over
them, indigenous children are braver than most of us.
They dare live with hope.
is for this reason that Cartwheel Foundation has made it
their mission to advocate for indigenous children.
Cartwheel believes that indigenous
do have the right to better nutrition, better health care, and better
schools. In Miarayon, Talakag,
Bukidnon, where Cartwheel established their pilot area, it has put up
childhood programs, teacher training, adult education and college
Every year, Cartwheel also conducts art workshops with
indigenous children from the remotest areas of the Philippines. For most of these children, it will be
first time to hold a paintbrush.
“How I wish I can take you all
to see the children paint
their first canvasses,” remarked Rojean
Caharian, Cartwheel’s program director. “They
were given primary and secondary colors
but those weren’t enough
for them. They mixed up their own pinks,
greens and purples. One child painted an
entire series – going through sheets after sheets of paper like he
hold another paintbrush again.”
There is something about
children’s paintings that rivals
even the finest works of masters. The
themes are as simple as one can imagine. The colors are loud, playful,
boisterous. And the clumsy
and lopsided canvasses do more for our spirits than most perfectly
orchestrated masterpieces. When one
looks at children’s art, you don’t see frustration and anxiety, nor
fear. These children, in spite of their
hardships, paint only celebration and hope.
With pride, Cartwheel is
featuring the works of indigenous
children in their Christmas and Everyday Cards and 2005 Calendars. The Cartwheel Card Project is an advocacy
program to teach children self-sufficiency and social responsibility
art. All card designs are artworks
indigenous children from Bukidnon, Agusan, Nueva Ecija and Ifugao.
the project will go to educational programs by Cartwheel Foundation and
specific programs chosen by the indigenous communities.
For more information about the Cartwheel Cards and Calendar project,