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Project Manila - Olandes Marikina

Our first project for the Art Meets Education began in August/September 2016 in the Olandes Marikina district in the city of Manila in the Philippines. The project was received so well in this district that we recruited the most volunteers in the shortest time possible. We worked very closely with the district council (Barrangay Hall), whereby the idea of the project would spread like wildfire and win over the trust of the local people for a good cause. A myriad of children signed themselves up on the posted lists; therefore we had no difficulties finding willing participants for the project. In fact, many children and parents were skeptical at first, however they quickly warmed up throughout the introduction phase and developed a sense of enjoyment and passion for photography. During the project phase, we met with the children three times overall as well as additional times in order to answer questions, provide additional film and exchange defective cameras when necessary. A large hurdle for our first project was the procurement of photographic equipment. It turned out that, it was not possible to obtain film or cameras in Manila, whereby it was necessary to drive three hours to Qipao in order to acquire full functioning automatic cameras and film. Moreover, there were often difficulties with the language barrier, which was surmounted thanks to the help of our translator, Timothy Basas. We must also express our gratitude to Ate Olive. Thanks to her extensive knowledge of the country and the people, she was our “fairy godmother” throughout the duration of the project. These two people were extremely helpful and reliable contacts during the project. Their assistance allowed us obtain a very close and intensive access to the people of Olandes Marikina, despite the cultural and language barriers. We were received in Manlia with kindness and warmth. So much so, that despite some unforeseen mishaps and difficulties, we can state that the project was a success!

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