Project Balangaw: Raise the Non-existing Roof, Seal the Wall
When We Almost Gave Up Until We Caught the Tail of the Rainbow
Dear Friend of the HeArt,
Greetings! The year 2020 was grappled with the global pandemic and we were caught in the midst of it when we moved from one island to another – to settle at my mother’s hometown; a farming community located 35 miles from the capital city of Iloilo on Panay island in the Philippines.
Deaths, disruptions, and distractions are traumatic daily realities during this time and we share the sudden sorrows of bad news; we also had our moments of doubts and fear that we almost gave up until we caught the tail of the rainbow – a rainbow of hopefulness; a lifeline within the stream of creative healing expressions – a reminder that it’s all worthwhile to pursue greater imaginations and aspirations in every breath of miracles.
And so, we organized a Creative Recovery program for the village women farm folks and also birthed-through a community-based arts vessel that is known as Baryo Balangaw Creative Initiatives: Bridging Artistic Transformations in Rural Communities – which was awarded a small grant from SEA Junction to kickstart the vision.
“Baryo” means a “tiny village”; while “Balangaw” means a “Rainbow” in our dialect – Small Rainbow Village of Creatives.
We were blessed with the primary initial support grant awarded by SEA Junction – a foundation based in Bangkok, Thailand. Through this, we conducted a 4-day workshop in December 2020 and we were able to sustain the program for a year and gained significant transformations with the women participants; and they also collectively earned approximately $2,300 from their social enterprise projects within 10months – making tote bags and selling their paintings. We were glad to have received support from different organizations including UNA for Women.
And yet the lingering uncertainty also brought a major dilemma in our part when an undesirable neighbour that settled on my grandmother’s land brought fear and verbally made “life threatening” remarks at us and so, we had it settled with the local council and part of it was to recover the land – with sheer faith, we were able to raise the funds from our own savings and also through donations from amazing friends who believe in the vision of healing this community trauma by creating a CommUNITY Centre for Arts, Sustainability & Peace Education on the recovered land.
Even after all, we continue to thrive through the inspired energy of Creativity. Our work has been recognized locally and internationally – with good exposure via short features on local television with the delight of the participants and collaborators with our program.
But another distraction happened last month when a super typhoon struck some islands of the Philippines – we experienced the power of nature’s wrath leaving a trail of disheartening devastation. Somehow there were no major damage at our place except some rice crops that were swept by strong winds and rain which brought sadness to our farm folks.
On our Baryo Balangaw land, we have an unfinished building that we envisioned to be a small community centre and dwelling place for kindred souls – it calls for a new life to co-create meaning and purpose through our works.
By providing a ” creative home”, we can avoid situations like unnecessary negative remarks towards our women’s group – they were once told they would be better off at home working household chores than creating art (we reported this event at the local council with positive response to empower women); there is also a need to have a proper toilet facility (at the moment the women hide in the bushes to relieve oneself).
As guardians of the Small Rainbow Village, Elle and I are moved by the Muse to take this next phase in the ever-growing expansion of realizing possibilities through our program.
We need shelter from the rain, from the storm; we need a safe space to learn, share, and create; we desire for this campaign to help raise the non-existent roof and seal the walls.
We are opening the gates of possibilities to help us realize the completion of the centre; we are sharing this Passion Project with you because we believe that it may resonate with your values; and it is our hope that support could come through you by way of donation when you are able to or by sharing this out to your network that may see the value of our work and trust that this small pocket of a project helps raise the vibration of serving the call to activate the good, the sacred, and wonderful. May you welcome this invitation.
From our end, we have allocated a portion of our savings to kickstart this campaign – and with our commitment to grow this vision everyday. And your extra help can make a difference! Let’s do this y’all!
With Love, Raz and Elle
Funding Goal = US$7,300
We trust to reach this goal soon for us to utilize the space for the summer workshops and before the rainy season arrives.
The fund will finance: (the building construction of main workshop/meeting space, little library, small pantry, outdoor classroom shed); (workers fee); (electricity installation); (water installation via on-site drill, water tank construction); (community garden)
*Upon reaching half of the goal, we will start construction (to complete building the roof and main space) within 30 working days | Stretch Goal of additional $2,500 to support: Online vocational training for women (who made keen interest to learn and get certified); support the creative production of their on-going social enterprise projects (tote bags, paintings)
Ways to send your support:
PayPal (using my email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
GCash in the Philippines (09158921411)
International Bank Transfer through Wise (please email me for details: email@example.com)
Help us transform this pocket of land to become a dwelling space to inspire creative imaginations; and a safe space to awaken artistic abilities.
We do our best every day to reach our aspirations to make change for the better – with hands reaching to the sky believing in miracles.
Join us in our community of creatives – women farm folks, youth activators, artivists – and be part in our mission of bridging creativity in rural communities.
“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”