NGO promotes quilting as a form of therapy
KC Santos

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Recuperating from traumatic experience is a hard thing, however this group engages abused children in quilting with the hope of making there recovery a little bit easier.

Quilting Art is just one of the many ways the trafficked children under the care of the Asia Against Child Trafficking (Asia ACT) are able to recuperate from the painful experiences they’ve dealt with in the past.

One of these children was Lomalina Daan, a Bohol native who was once recruited as a child soldier. Lomalina who now goes by the name Giselle succumbed to severe injury in one of the attacks leaving her right hand deformed. She knew then that she was going to be scarred for life.

“I’m ok now, but it was a lot of hard work,” shares Giselle.

Asia ACT Regional Coordinator Amihan Abueva,  in one of their pursuits to curb child trafficking cases in the country crossed paths with Giselle, whom she tagged along to participate in Survivor’s Quilt, a project based in California which taught victims of child trafficking all over the world the art of quilting as a therapeutic way of appreciating art.

“The recovery really depends on the kids since they have different ways of responding to the healing process. Quilting is somewhat an equalizer since we encourage them to focus only on positive thoughts,” shares Amihan.

In displaying exceptional creativity and interest in quilting, Giselle was eventually encouraged to relay her skill to younger victims of abuse. She shares she doesn’t put too much thought on what to create but recalls vivid images of the countryside from where she belongs.

From basic sewing, Giselle eventually learned how to layer and paint on her quilts. Amihan said Giselle’s level of expertise in quilting is quite advanced considering her horrible past and that she wasn’t schooled in the arts.

“It’s not an easy process because trauma triggers the bad memory. It’s a challenge to fight those back to entertain only the good images and translate them into art,” says Amihan.

When not conducting workshops, Amihan aids Giselle in marketing her quilted works in hand-made art fairs where her quilts, depending on the size sells from P300 to P1,500.

Amihan who has also learned from Giselle the craft also sells her full quilts for P6,000. These are all ideal wall pieces for homes, commercial and leisure establishments.

In a time when sexual exploitation and forced labor of Filipino children still remain very rampant, Amihan said it is only right that NGOs or individuals help find ways to make these abused children’s recovery easier.

Giselle, now a budding artist and a company employee, now lives a simple life and has become a productive member of the society. However there are lots more like her who until now is in the brink of self-destruction.

“If these children are not saved in time, nobody knows how much cruel this world becomes to them. This is why we need to make them feel that sense of accomplishment because this reaffirms their road to recovery,” said Amihan.

“I just have to keep on making art so that I can also inspire and convince victims of abuse that there is still hope out there, they just need other’s help to look for it,” Giselle added.

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