Among my fondest childhood memories were the times my sisters and I would spend sewing stuffed toys to give as gifts to relatives during the holidays. I remember there was a totally ugly pig made of rolled-up and tied-up foam, but I don't remember who the unfortunate relative was who received it; and a snake made from an old necktie that got my boy cousin crying when he opened his gift box and found the thing coiled up inside! Great times.
A lot of what makes me happy and productive now that I'm all grown up can be traced directly to those experiences, I think. Although I have given up on making people cry when I give them presents :)At an arts workshop.
That's why when I heard about the project Manikako, in the Philippines, I knew that I wanted to be part of it. Manikako comes from the Filipino phrase, "manika ko," meaning "my doll. What they do is they organize arts workshops for children in disadvantaged situations, for example from areas hit by natural calamities such as typhoons, or living in urban slums. In these workshops, each child is given a blank doll, thread, buttons, and fabric scraps -- all recycled material that the organization collects -- and then helped to create his own personal doll. The thinking behind it all being that exploring his creativity will help the child develop in a more complete manner; and also that these art workshops are just plain fun!
I'm far away from Asia, otherwise I would gladly be volunteering at their workshops, so for now what I'm doing to support the project is using the Manikako blank dolls to make my popular Super Good Luck dolls. Part of the sale from each of my Super Good Luck dolls now goes to funding a Manikako arts workshop. The dolls I have available are here, here, and here. There'll be more to come.
If you live in the Philippines, there are more opportunities for you to get involved, if you feel like it. Just check out the Manikako website.