By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
A literary and art competition for Filipino students in the Middle East has revealed many interesting things about the life of migrant children in the region. The competition had the theme: “Art as a reality: Young lives in transition.”
“While some have expressed their happiness in being reunited with their families, most of them recount the struggles they encountered upon being uprooted from the Philippines,” said Elena Castro, a teacher from the Philippine School of Doha (PSD) and also the coach of one of the top winners in the contest held recently in Oman.
She was speaking during the distribution of a book - a compilation of all the works of the finalists - at the PSD gym attended by dozens of students.
Principal Alexander Acosta, the coaches, and student winners received copies of the book entitled Art as Reality: The Transition of Migrant Children in the Middle East.
Many of the articles showed that young children who now live with their parents abroad “missed their homeland”: former classmates, friends, peers, relatives and people who have touched their lives.
Castro said many students recalled their experience of moving from one place to another until they settled in Doha. Stories also included how they adjusted to lifestyle changes in a different culture which gave them a deeper understanding about their parents’ job.
Some of the entries for the digital work and paintings contest showed that “black” was the dominant colour.
“It means sadness and a lot of them really want to go back to their country,” Castro observed.
“Art became their medium of expression and it is a good way of knowing the innermost
thoughts of children,” she added.
Under the literary category for elementary students, PSD’s Anne Loren Comia won the first place while the first honourable mention went to Jaylieca Izabella Cunanan. Mary Carmelle Medina and Galvin Ray Dizon (digital work) were among the finalists.
For the high school level, Julienne Bautista (also from PSD) won the first place while the second honourable mention went to Bernadette Viray and David Joseph Pascua.
The finalists for the art category included Ranica Angela Casipit and Kathleen Anne Baladad.
About the lessons they learned from the competition, Castro said: “You cannot see things from the outside. Some of their skills are not yet tapped and there should be more opportunities for them to show their talents.”
About the challenges as a co-ordinator, she stressed that beating the deadline and verifying the authenticity of the entries was the hardest part. Literacy pieces were sent by e-mail while paintings and digital work had to be sent via courier to the Philippine embassy in Oman which organised the competition.
Castro also lauded the parents for co-operating and fully supporting the whole team.