Josefina Aliwalas or Teacher Let, as the children call her, is a graduate of Fine Arts (major in Painting) from the University of Santo Tomas. She has been a volunteer teacher of arts and crafts in SIBUHI for six years. From her, the children learn to draw in a fun way. In the summer of 2015, Teacher Let taught arts and crafts classes in Virlanie.

Since Teacher Let lives far from Virlanie, her class happened once a week every Thursday. Students from Masaya, Drop-In Center, Ella Yalah, and Tanglaw Homes occupy the SIBUHI workshop room. The difference between this art class and other classes wherein volunteers taught the children how to draw is that “the children’s interest slowly disappears and together with it their attendance is affected; since the children are not interested in doing the same thing, I changed the process on how they learn by focusing on arts & crafts. This somewhat improved their drawing skills and at the same time gave them the chance to create new and fun crafts,” Teacher Let said.

“It serves as healing therapy for the children and this helps them express their inner feelings more through art; it also develops their talents. Their self-esteem and self-confidence get a boost especially when we have our mini bazaar,” she explained.

The mini bazaar is an annual event wherein the children’s artworks are showcased. Teacher Let said, “Three years ago, the children and I decided to create a mini bazaar wherein I would pick some of the children’s artworks. When their works get sold, it makes them excited and happy.” The profits that they get from the bazaar are used to fund her class so they could buy supplies to create more works. Every year they create new items to sell, but they mostly sell useful things like

sleeping masks (with animal designs), wallets, and their favorites: clocks, pencil cases and card holders.

“There was a time when I was late because the MRT was not working. After my long walk from Cubao to Ortigas, all my pain and tiredness disappeared when I saw the children waiting for me, eager to start the class. (I like) the fulfillment I get from teaching the children, knowing that they are interested in what they are doing and that they love what you are sharing with them,” Teacher Let shared.

It is important for Teacher Let that the children are interested in what they are doing, because then you can guide the children to improve and develop their talents. Every day Teacher Let also learns something from the children, as she tries to search for new projects to teach the children because they do not like repeating what they have already done. To see some of the artworks created by the children of Virlanie, visit flickr.com/sibuhi2012.

Photos from: Josephina Aliwalas