For confidentiality reasons, all the names used in our beneficiaries’ stories have been changed. 

Daniel was one of the participants of our 3-step humanitarian mission in the Philippines, that focused on children from underprivileged backgrounds who were displaced because of Typhoon Haiyan. 

Daniel is an 8 year-old boy who comes from a small village, he spends a lot of time with his grandma. His mother works in Manila, the capital, so him and his cousins are under the care of their grandmother. There are a lot of children to take care of, and Daniel is often left by himself.

He is 8 years old and is only able to write his name.

Daniel runs around, jumping on his cousins to wrestle, then suddenly grows very tired and lethargic. He was diagnosed with hyperactive and attention seeking behaviour. When he was allowed to draw and paint, the paper would not be the only colourful art piece, his body would be covered as well.

During the first session, as the children sat around a table, one by one, they would chose a coloured pen and draw on a piece of paper. When they finished, they would slide it to the left. 

Daniel refused to draw on the paper and put his head on the table. Eventually, placing his arm around the sheet, making sure no one was watching, he drew something.

The next day, Daniel picked up a permanent marker, and traced lines on his face and his arms. When the papers made their rounds, he switched his drawing with another kid when no one was watching.

With the help of the arts therapist, Daniel drew two monkeys: one adult and one baby. He wanted the smaller monkey to be protected and always have someone watching over him.

In session 4, the children were provided with material to build the city they live nearby.

Daniel was more interested in covering his hands with glue and chasing the other children around. The group was then instructed to create an image of themselves, but once again Daniel seemed more intrigued by the foam stickers than the task at hand.

Yet, his final artwork appears lively, energetic, colourful and hectic, an accurate representation of who Daniel is as a person.

When they were done with constructing, Daniel and a few other children began ripping the work apart. There seemed to be a common emotion of anger where these children lived. Some of the children’s villages were often hit by typhoons, and they were often relocated temporarily.

This safe space gave them an environment to release their aggressive feelings.

Thanks to the group dynamic and him finding ways to relate to the other children, Daniel had created a safe space where he felt accepted, even for his negative feelings.

He also managed to discover a way of expressing his frustration and anger, helping him heal and create a path rid of positive emotions rather than negative ones.