Laro. Likha. Saya.

“How does it feel like to be a kid again?”

By Mikaela Capati

“How does it feel like to be a kid again?” — Primarily the question being asked in every engagement, the Philippine Toy Library volunteers, or collectively known as Tropang PTL, answer this question simply: “To feel like a kid, you must be one.”

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Mikee (wearing white PTL shirt) with the kids of Javier Central Elementary School

For the kids in our partner communities, being one is a luxury. At an early age, these kids are exposed to poverty and labor, limiting them from becoming a real kid  — a kid entitled to play, without worries…a kid who is just a kid.

The Philippine Toy Library provides avenues for kids to enjoy the wonderful world of play. Engagements traverse the different islands of the country to provide opportunities for kids to express themselves through toys and stories. Just a shot at being happy, ecstatic, rowdy and euphoric, that is what PTL hopes for these kids.

I, together with Jesha and Jessie (PTL volunteers), eagerly flew to Eastern Visayas for a two-day storytelling and free play activity for the kids of Javier, Leyte and Basey, Samar. With the help of local partners, AKMA-Resbak and SSEAYP, the organizers wore their respective kids hat in the hope of giving the kids an event to remember.

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At Basey I, Mikee tells the story of Popong who hates to take a bath.

The kids of Basey I Central Elementary School started off with a fiesta of colorful music and twirling batons as they welcomed the visitors from the different organizations. As the kids from Basey entered the newly-inaugurated toy library, sparks were seen flying from their eyes as they ran towards the different toys and books ready for their company. The kids were given time to run around and play freely in their new library.

The kids of Javier Central Elementary School also greeted the organizers with big smiles and eager hands. Kids ages 4-8 gathered around the carpeted mat and silently waited for the go signal to play to their heart’s content. Toys and books from different donors have filled not just the toy libraries of both Javier and Basey, but more importantly the hearts of the kids from our partner communities.

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One of the teachers of Basey I Elementary School applying the storytelling techniques she learned from the workshop.

Enhancing room for creativity was also one of the goals of PTL for this engagement. The kids participated in an arts and crafts module where their skills to draw, color and imagine were showcased. As seen in the arts and crafts activity for the kids, the sea of colors from their rainbow clouds looked as bright as the smiles gleaming from their faces.

The kids of Basey and Javier were told a story about a kid named Popong, who resented taking a bath and just wanted to play all day long. It may seem like a normal children’s story with a valuable lesson at the end, but what made it so special was the manner of delivery and the processing that PTL ensured to teach the partner communities. A workshop facilitated by Jesha taught the community organizers to internalize and engage themselves, immerse their hearts and minds, without anything to hinder true expression, in telling stories and their purpose. Committing themselves, through their facial expressions and vocal impersonations, were just few of the non-negotiables in storytelling the PTL way. In this way, it would be possible to let the children understand there there is more value to the story than what is written on the paper.

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Jessie (left, wearing white) and Ate Dang (right, wearing white) together with the kids holding their rainbow masterpiece.

To let the volunteers and the kids be immersed in the stories and activities is the main goal of each PTL session — not just tell the story to a kid, not just teach them different modules, but to remind themselves of the stories of one kid, and later on realize that they, too, have their own stories to share. With every ounce of commitment poured in every engagement, PTL only seeks to have a burning heart and compassion to let the kids be kids again, despite any condition.

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PTL volunteers Jessie and Mikee, together with the AKMA-Resbak and SSYEAP group, and toy donors from Singapore, posing with the kids before they do their free play.

Mikaela Capati, or Mikee as her friends call her, is one of the first members of Tropang PTL. She is a young professional working at a private corporation. Previously a government worker, Mikee makes it a point to keep herself involved in development work, thus, committing her weekends to Philippine Toy Library.

Tropang PTL is the official volunteer arm of Philippine Toy Library, a non-profit organization that aims to bring happiness to the children through play. Aside from giving a structured play module to the kids, Tropang PTL also gives a 3-to-4 hour Guardians On Training (G.O.T.) for the teachers, parents and local volunteers of the community, teaching them how to manage play, how to do storytelling and arts & crafts activities for the kids. Help us to bring Tropang PTL in our Toy Libraries all over the Philippines! E-mail us on info@toylibraryph.com to find out how.

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Tropang PTL Goes to Bataan

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PTL’s first group of Tropa, Mikee, Mac and Anna (left to right wearing white shirt), with the children of Brgy. San Carlos, Mariveles, Bataan.

PTL launches its new volunteer arm, Tropang PTL, to deepen engagements in the different PTL sites all over the country. Recently, the Tropa visited PTL Brgy. San Carlos, Mariveles, Bataan. The Tropa, all young professional volunteers, retold and acted out the story of Si Langgam at Si Tipaklong to thirty (30) children on a Saturday morning.

Kuya Mac assists one of the children in identifying the contents of an emergency bag.

Kuya Mac assists one of the children in identifying the contents of an emergency bag.

Highlighting the story’s importance for preparedness in times of calamities, the kids were asked to identify several items needed to include in an emergency bag. To conclude the day, the kids drew how happy faces would look like in order to shoo away the bad weather.

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The kids showing off the smiling faces they drew on a paper plate.

For Lavinia Grace, 9 years old, and Earl Joseph, 11 years old, regulars of the Toy Library, their most favorite part of the day’s activity was making their happy faces. As Lavinia Grace puts it, “Maganda at maayos po rito sa Toy Library. Maganda po na nakakapaglaro po kami  rito para hindi lang po kami tambay sa bahay. May natututunan din po kami.” Mahalaga po ang laro para sa aming mga bata,” says Earl Joseph, “dahil nagiging masaya po kami rito”.

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Tropang PTL is the official volunteer arm of Philippine Toy Library, a non-profit organization that aims to bring happiness to the children through play. Aside from giving a structured play module to the kids, Tropang PTL also gives a 3-to-4 hour Guardians On Training (G.O.T.) for the teachers, parents and local volunteers of the community, teaching them how to manage play, how to do storytelling and arts & crafts activities for the kids. Help us to bring Tropang PTL in our Toy Libraries all over the Philippines! E-mail us on info@toylibraryph.com to find out how.

Children Being Children

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The road to Brgy. Mostro, Anilao, Iloilo.

Two hours away from the ​c​ity proper, in the midst of the wide rice fields stands a humble community that gives primary importance to children’s rights​ in Iloilo​. Through the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation’s Learning Resource Center (LRC), children in Brgy. Mostro, Anilao, Iloilo are able to find their space for learning, and now for play, with the opening of the Toy Library.

Brgy. Mostro has been identified to have a high incidence of child labor in Iloilo, among other barangays such as Brgy. De La Paz in Banate, and Brgy. Vista Alegre in Barotac Viejo, by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). ​As part of ABK3 LEAP (Livelihoods, Education, Advocacy & Protection to Reduce Child Labor in Sugarcane Areas), ERDA supports the education of the children in sugarcane areas to keep them away from working in the tubuhan. ERDA’s LRC in Brgy. Mostro ​serves as the venue where children can keep themselves busy, and not in the tubuhan.

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Together with Jesha (left) of Philippine Toy Library are Rosalyn, 9 years old, Herme, Inday and Krizia, all 8 years old (2nd to the left to right) who are very happy that they can now play with the toys they only dreamed of before.

​Now, ​through the LRC program, most children are ​able to go back to school​. Barangay Children’s Association (BCA) leader and ERDA scholar Jazmel Divino, 15 years old, expresses his delight at the opening of the Toy Library in Mostrol. “Sobrang saya po namin ngayon na may Toy Library na kami dahil ​i​y​o​ng mga pangarap naming gawin para sa community ay matutupad na,” (We are very happy now that we have a Toy Library because our dreams for the community will come true) muses Jazmel. Aside from the existing activities they are already doing for Brgy. Mostrol such as storytelling and arts & crafts programs​, Jazmel wants to explore more possibilities to involve the whole community in taking care of their children.

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ERDA ensures that the children of Brgy. Mostro are aware of their rights. The LRC is filled with artistic outputs created by the children themselves about their rights.

Philippine Toy Library

From a Facebook status, a national advocacy was born. The Philippine Toy Library (PTL) is made up of volunteer-friends who hope to provide the experience of play to our Filipino children, especially those who live in cramped and congested areas. Idle spaces in barangays, schools or parishes are turned into fun and educational PTL areas to keep kids off the streets. Currently, PTL has 105 sites and more are being put up, to bring joy to the next generation of Filipinos.

For more information, please visit the following:

Website: http://www.philippinetoylibrary.org
WordPress: https://philippinetoylibrary.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PhilippineToyLibrary
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PhilToyLibrary

For further inquiries, you could email us at info@philippinetoylibrary.org.

ERDA and PTL Collaborate for the Filipino Children

ERDA Updates Special Ed May-June  2015

The Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation, Inc. partners with the Philippine Toy Library (PTL) in its mission of making learning a fun experience for its children beneficiaries. The partnership of ERDA Foundation and PTL began in 2013, when PTL provided a play space in one of ERDA’s daycare center, located in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City. Since then, PTL has provided opportunities for play in other ERDA communities in Batangas, Naga City and Iloilo.

PTL is truly grateful for organizational partners like ERDA Foundation as they enable to bring play to more children all over the Philippines.

For more information, please visit the following:

Website: http://www.philippinetoylibrary.org
WordPress: https://philippinetoylibrary.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PhilippineToyLibrary
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PhilToyLibrary

For further inquiries, you could email us at info@philippinetoylibrary.org.

Companions’ Chronicles: Reaching Out to God’s Little Children

*Grabbed from http://www.ncaleadershipjourney.wordpress.com.

Once again, the Ninoy &  Cory Aquino Leadership Journey Companions, from the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation, joined the Annual Children’s Day organized by Brgy. Loyola Heights, Quezon City last October 25, 2014. The Journey Companions prepared games, action song and storytelling activities for almost three hundred fifty (350) kids, ranging from 5 to 10 years old. To some, it may just be another Saturday morning spent outside the comfort of their homey bed. But to these few Journey Companions, there was more to the Children’s Day that cannot be seen by bare eyes. Journey Companions Joy Critica (Batch 1), Joyce Chamorro (Batch 6), Janine Vicente (Batch 7), Noel Victorino (Batch 8) and Cedric dela Cruz (Batch 12) were moved to share about their experience being with the children of Brgy. Loyola Heights.

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Joy Critica, NCALJ Batch 1

Ang karanasan ko sa Children’s Day sa Brgy. Loyola Height, katulad ng naging partisipasyon ko, ay ang “dalawang mukha” ng buhay — na sa kabila ng kanilang mga pagsubok sa buhay, ang araw na iyon ay nakatakda para magsaya at maging bata—maglaro at tumawa. Sa araw na iyon, ginampanan ko ang karakter ni Annie sa kwentong “May Bukbok Ang Ngipin ni Annie”. Isang simpleng kwento, isang pangkaraniwang karakter — isang batang masakit ang ngipin at nang nagpadoktor ay guminhawa ang pakiramdam. Hindi man ako ganoon nakapaghanda para sa aming munting palabas at kahit tungkol lamang sa pag-aalaga sa ngipin ang kwento, na kung tutuusin ay ‘di naman ganoon kalalim kumpara sa mga naging papel ko sa ibang dula, sa pagkakataong ito, naging espesyal sa akin ang karakter ko dahil hindi nakalimutan ng mga bata ang kwento kahit natapos na ang araw.

Nadama ko ang malasakit ng mga bata nung nasa gym na kami, nung tinatanong ako ng mga bata kung okay na daw ba ang ngipin ko at kung hindi na masakit. May nagsabi pa na “Huwag ka na kasi kakain ng kendi”. Masasabi kong naging mapalad ako sa biglaang pagganap sa karakter na si Annie dahil nadama ko ang pag-aalala nila para sa ibang tao. Noong gabi bago ang araw na iyon, namili ako at ang nanay ko ng mga kendi, tsokolate, mga biskwit at iba pa, para ipamigay sa mga bata. Sinuportahan ako ng nanay ko kahit gabing-gabi na dahil alam nyang magiging kasiyahan ito ng mga bata. May kurot sa puso ko sa tuwing halos mag-aaway at mag-aagawan ang mga bata para sa kendi at biskwit na dala namin. Naiisip ko kung gaano ako kapalad na nakakabili ako ng mga bagay na gusto ko kahit anong oras ko pa gustuhin. Binuksan ng karanasang ito ang aking kamalayan sa pagpapahalaga sa mga bagay na meron ako, maliit man ito o malaki.

Noong araw na iyon, naroon ang Diyos at sa mga kasamahan ko mula sa Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey at sa iba pang volunteers. Paano? Simple lang. Dahil nandoon kami at ginusto naming ibahagi ang aming mga sarili ng walang inaasahang kapalit.

Naroon ang Diyos sa bawat volunteer, at sa mga organizers, higit lalo sa mga kasamahan ko sa NCAF. Hindi naman kami obligado para dito pero inilaan namin ang araw na ‘yon para sa mga bata. Hindi naman dumami ang pera na ginastos namin buong araw. Sobra ang pagod, uhaw at gutom, pero hindi noon matutumbasan ang mga ngiti at yakap ng mga bata sa amin. Hindi maipapaliwanag ang tuwa na naramdaman namin na sa kabilang ng simple naming ginawa o binigay, hindi lang ang mga bata ang napasaya namin, bagkus naging higit kaming mas masaya sa nagawa namin para sa kanila.

Naroon ang Diyos sa mga bata ng Brgy. Loyola Heights, na inilaan ang buong araw nila para makipag-laro, makisaya, matuto ng mga bagong kaalaman. Sila ang instrumento ng Diyos sa amin para ipagpatuloy ang pagmamalasakit at pagmamahal sa kapwa. Binigyan nila kami ng dahilan para huwag magsawang tumulong sa bayan at sa nangangailangan.

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The Journey Companions pose with the kids in front of the camera! Photo by Demy Cruz, Jr.

Joyce Chamorro, NCALJ Batch 6

 Rather than being tired and drained, I felt refreshed and renewed. Yes, I was a bit tired with all the activities we have done but the smiles of the children we met, and the hugs and kisses they have given to us are very refreshing and touching. Those simple acts from them made me feel that I have been appreciated for the small things that we have done for them. That was a refreshing time for me after all the busy and stressful days that came by. Seeing the children enjoying their day to the fullest is like a medicine to me that I felt renewed again.

 In playing with the children, I really felt God’s presence guiding us every step of the way. He never left us alone, letting us get tired and be stressed with all that was happening around. He was with us, enjoying the moment. Before I started the dance workshop, I prayed that He will help me out and let the children feel Him through me. True enough, God answered my prayer as He used me as an instrument for the children to feel His presence. I know after that day, God was smiling and overwhelmed with us sharing our time and talents, and to the children cooperating and enjoying their selves the whole time.

Janine Vicente, NCALJ Batch 7

Masayang magpasaya, yan ang naramdaman ko nung Sabado. Nakita ko ang kabutihan ng Panginoon sa bawat ngiting matamis, kulay ng halakhak at talino sa bawat tanong ng mga bata, naaninag ko rin ang Kanyang kamay na gumagabay sa mga kasamahan kong buong pusong binibigay ang kanilang kakayahan para makapagbahagi at mapaalala sa lahat na ang bawat bata ay mahalaga.

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During the storytelling session, the kids point out to what’s causing ‘Annie’s’ toothache.

Noel Victorino, Batch 8

Unang beses kong makapunta sa Children’s Day, at masasabi kong nakakapagod pero naging masaya ang aking karanasan. Hindi ko inaasahang ganoon karami ang mga batang darating. Masaya dahil nakipaglaro at nakipagkulitan ako kasama ng mga bata. Eto ‘yung tipo ng pagod na kahit anong sakit ng katawan ko ay ayos lang dahil masaya ako sa ginagawa ko. Noon lang ulit ako gumawa ng origami at para pa sa mga bata. 

Pumunta kami doon para makapagbigay ng saya sa mga bata, pero sa hindi inaasahang paraan, nakapagbigay din sila ng saya sa amin. Parang sinasabi sa akin ng Diyos na matuto akong maging mapagpasensya at maghintay; na ibalik ko kahit saglit ang pagkakaroon ng pusong bata, na madaling lumigaya at simple lamang ang nais. Noong nakabuo kami ng origami, masaya na ang mga bata, pati na rin ako. Sa ganoong paraan ko nakita ang Diyos noong araw na iyon.

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In one of the stations during the Children’s Day, Riva Panganiban of Batch 6 (wearing the NCA Leadership Journey shirt) play with the kids inside the Toy Library.

Cedric Dela Cruz, NCALJ Batch 12

Overall, my experience during Children’s Day was an amazing one. It was uplifting. It felt different when the kids started to thank me, and Kuya Noel. They made us feel that it was one of their greatest days. Every stress that I had from school was all gone after seeing their smiles and feeling their handshakes. In that moment, I saw how care free the kids were as if it was the best day of their lives. Again it was uplifting. It made me feel that I can do something to make people happy.

But in everything that I did, was I able to see God in all of them? My answer is yes. I think the feeling I felt after the event was what made me see God in there—it was surreal. I think He was happy that He made me happy in that moment. And that’s it! It’s more than what I have expected. I went there just to do the job and serve these kids, but I ended up with so much.  One of the advocacies of my life is to share my blessings with these kids. Minsan lang maging bata. In reality not all of these kids felt what is like being a kid and it makes me very sad, because for me it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Thank you NCAF for another amazing journey. Thank you for the opportunity in sharing what we have with these kids. Thank you!

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The Journey Companions from Batch 1 to 12.

 

Free Play Diaries s.1: Capturing Smiles at Villa Maria Integrated School

Juan Portrait, a group of volunteer photographers with the advocacy of giving joy through the camera lens, went to Villa Maria Integrated School in Porac, Pampanga for a day of fun picture taking with the students. The students of Villa Maria, mostly coming from the Aeta Community, was not only given the opportunity to smile in front of the camera, but they were also treated to story telling and games.

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One of the kids pose for the camera. Smile!

Aside from Juan Portrait, The Storytelling Project, Fully Booked Foundation and The Kinder Project joined in the day of fun play. The students also received rain gear, pencils and slippers from the participating organizations.

Find out how the fun play day went! Click here to watch the YouTube video.

Get to know more about Philippine Toy Library by liking us on www.facebook.com/PhilippineToyLibrary and visiting our website at www.philippinetoylibrary.org.

Ate Gemma of Brgy. Loyola Heights on the Philippine Toy Library

The idea of having a Toy Library was not appealing at first. She thought, it was just an additional task being given by their Barangay Captain. But once it was put up, Ate Gemma Mendoza, Program Coordinator of Brgy. Loyola Heights, finally appreciated the Toy Library.

Get to know more about the Philippine Toy Library through the lenses of Brgy. Loyola Heights by watching the video:

For more information about who we are and what we do, you may visit the following:
http://www.philippinetoylibrary.org
http://www.facebook.com/PhilippineToyLibrary
http://www.twitter.com/PhilToyLibrary
Or email us at info@philippinetoylibrary.org

This video is brought to you by Free Play Productions, the official production team of the Philippine Toy Library.