523 Ate Claire’s Story Telling Workshop with ECPAT

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Written by Core Team Leader, Edelma Sy

Many of our sponsored events are usually in celebration of birthdays or part of CSR programs, but for Indonesia-based teacher Ate Claire Calusin, giving doesn’t have to be incidental with special ocassions. She just wanted to share her blessings, she said, and she did so with their friends as we conducted an acting workshop at ECPAT Children’s Home in Quezon City.

Before the event began, we went through a brief orientation about ECPAT – its history, programs and a few guidelines on interaction with the kids. ECPAT stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. It is an NGO dedicated to fighting CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) and promoting the welfare of CSEC victims and survivors. It was an eye-opener for us as it increased our awareness on the problems and risks that children today are facing, and also gave us an idea on how to protect them.

After the briefing, 20 children were called into the social hall to commence the day’s activities. Ate Amy kicked off the event by calling Ate Claire and her friends in front to introduce their names and showcase their dancing prowess to everyone. All our volunteers gamely showed their moves with the song “Shake It Off”, but it was Kuya RJ who ultimately impressed the kids most and won their votes. The kids and the volunteers were then divided into four groups and were given time to get to know one another by sharing their name, favorite summer activity and favorite actor/actress.

With the introductions done with, we dived into the the workshop proper directed by our very brilliant resident storyteller and facilitator, Ate Dyali. She was carrying a curious set of stainless bowl and ladle – her favorite teaching tools, as she later told us.

Ate Dyali first led the groups into warm up exercises, explaining the importance of stretching as acting can involve a lot of exaggerated movements. Breathing exercises followed and the room fell into a steady rhythm as she instructed everyone to inhale with the nose and exhale with the mouth.

Soon, all the participants were down to their knees and shaking on the floor, pretending to be sunflower seeds being watered and ready to sprout! 😀 They enacted the life of a sunflower from being a seed to being a full-grown plant to finally withering under the heat of the sun. It was a very engaging activity that also called the paticipants to focus on their character and effectively communicate their roles with their movements. Ate Dyali unleashed the power of her bowl and ladle as she used them to signal transitions into what the groups were told to do.

A game of tag was next, but with a special twist! They were to chase one another while mimicking random characters like a turtle, ballerina, monkey, bouncing ball, and galloping horse, among others. Ate Dyali explained that the purpose of the game is to introduce the importance of animated body movements in acting.

Everyone then returned to their groups for the next activity, where each team is to portray a specific scenario, with emphasis on facial expressions. It was time to release their creativity and collaborative skills as they acted out getting caught in an earthquake or in the rain without an umbrella. One group’s scene was a mother giving birth in a jeepney, while for another, they were to act out being in a very crowded train.

Ate Dyali wrapped up the workshop with a drill that employed concentration techniques. She instructed everybody to form two lines, line A and B. Team A had to make Team B laugh while team B tries not to. Then the roles were reversed. The person who managed to keep himself from laughing wins. It was not easy to decide which was more difficult – to try to make the other person laugh, or to not laugh with your partner making hilarious faces at you – but it was certainly a lot of fun, and eventually two pairs were left as winners.

After Ate Dyali bade goodbye, a kid led us in a prayer and we distributed food to the groups to reenergize everyone. The volunteers took the time to get to know the kids more and gave them storybooks for their gifts.

To conclude the event, we huddled together for group photos, and the kids gave their ates and kuyas grateful hugs before they said their goodbyes.

Overall, we had a very fulfilling afternoon of laughter and learning, thanks to Ate Claire. Because people like her take the initiative to help, children get to develop valuable skills and traits that can take them to a bright future, regardless of how gloomy their past may have been.

U! Happy Events

U! Happy Events