729 Cognizant Technology Solution’s Mural Workshop with Gawad Kalinga Laura
Written by Board Member, Ate Charmain Tan
Today was an exciting morning as we welcomed a hundred volunteers from Cognizant, a company that provides business process and technology services. Ate Cash from Cognizant’s CSR organizes outreach activities every week and they would do different activities in different areas. We were fortunate to have partnered with them in one of their outreach events.
One hundred kids from Gawad Kalinga Laura were excited as they waited for the volunteers to arrive. We have partnered with Gawad Kalinga since 2007. We did events in several of their locations including Rizal, Cainta, Pinagsama, Mandaluyong, Balagot, Laura, and built a school in Ave Maria. This is our 31st event with GK to date. Today’s main activity was Mural Painting. Our artist Ate Blanca and her team had been working on the mural when we arrived. The kids were going around and looking at the paintings on the wall while waiting eagerly for the day’s activities to start.
We formed everyone into 13 groups, mixing the kids and volunteers. They were able to get to know one another as they shared their favorite color and talked about what the kids wanted to be when they grow up. In is in light with the theme of the Mural.
To get everyone energized we played a fun game. Every group received a “bilao” containing cutouts of sea creatures. There were starfish, octopus, dolphin, and others. The groups were asked to scatter the cutouts outside the bilao. They were to fan the cutouts back into the bilao using the paper plates we gave them. When Kuya Harvard shouted “Go!” everyone was fanning so hard to get all the sea creatures back into the bilao. It was fun to watch all the kids and volunteers shout in delight as tried to get all the cutouts inside. The trick was when they were fanning back and forth, some of the cutouts that were already inside would come back out. Others would be fanned further away from the bilao. The kids were laughing as they tried to fight the urge to scoop the cutouts using the paper plates. Kuya Harvard would then switch the instructions. The cutouts were to be placed inside the bilao and they were to fan them outward. It was an easier task as some of the teams finished fast. It was a race to 3 points and finally the fastest team won.
We then moved on to the main activity of the day, the Mural Painging. Ate Blanca painted different professions on the walls. There were nurses, doctor, fireman, policeman, artist, baker, basketball player, flight attendant, and others. The kids identified with the different professions as they pointed to which one they wanted to become. We assigned the groups to which part of the wall they were going to paint. As we distributed the paints and the brushes, the groups enthusiastically started delegating to one another. The volunteers helped out the kids reach higher points in the wall. The kids happily put different colors on the images. Even if it was a hot morning, it did not deter the kids from finishing their work. The once plain walls of Gawad Kalinga Laura was quickly transformed into a vibrant work of art. To further encourage everyone to do their best we picked a Best Mural at the end of the day. In the end the best mural went to the Artist and Basketball Wall. We awarded prizes to the children from the winner’s group.
We then took a break and had our lunch. We also gave gifts to all the children. To thank the volunteers the kids of Laura performed a dance number with a mashup of songs. The volunteers happily took photos and videos of the kids. To end the day the kids thanked and hugged the volunteers from Cognizant for spending the morning with them.
It was heartwarming to see the children put a part of themselves through painting in a place they call home.