Submitted by LitCorps Ambassador Ruby
After two and a half months of building relationships & meeting with organizations on new and fertile ground here in the Philippines, I’m excited to say that LitWorld has made its first official partner with the Real Life Foundation, and has debuted our first Boys and Girls LitClubs in Manila! (We’ve had a Girls LitClub launch in the Philippines before, but in the city of Baguio.)
This past Saturday, I headed to the Real Life Foundation Community Center in Pasig City, where the youth of the surrounding neighborhoods gather every Saturday to take advantage of Real Life’s weekend feeding program. The youth don’t often have proper nourishment with their daily meals, so Real Life helps by giving them balanced, nutritious foods on the weekends. The only thing missing from their weekly gathering with youth was a productive program to get them engaged, so implementing the LItClubs was a natural and perfect fit.
I arrived to a big group of boys and girls all curious and full of energy, staring up at me as I did my best to communicate with them in the best Tagalog I could. (Luckily, I also had a Real Life Staff member help me with translations!) When we broke up the girls and boys to form their clubs, I finally had a chance to meet the girls and introduce the LitClubs concept to them.
We started with the Name Game to warm things up, a practice all LitClub facilitators do to make sure we know each girl’s name. This is very important in our LitClubs, to make the presence of each girl known, welcomed, and valid. I also asked them what they’d like to be when they grow older, and an overwhelming bunch of them aspire to be teachers! (A good sign, no?) We talked about building a community of sisterhood, and exercised their connection with each other by facilitating the identity web activity, where they are able to see how much they have in common with each other by connecting their common traits.
The girls may have been shy at first, but behind all the hushed giggles, I can tell they were excited. When we brought out the read aloud, they all gathered close and were completely into the story. I can tell that this is a good beginning, and I will continue updating you all as this new story for LitWorld in the Philippines unfolds!