Until 2015, we were allowing productions of our my plays to be used by organisations for various fundraiser activities, usually for communities displaced by conflicts in Southern Philippines or donating my books to libraries such as the Bangsamoro library in Cotabato City or the Bantayog ng mga Bayani (memorial shrine for the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorial regime).
Before I left the Philippines in 2017, we were conducting creative writing workshops for young Muslims you were displaced by conflict in Marawi City in 2017, a conflict between local terrorist groups and Duterte’s fascist military forces. Me and the community leaders of Karen communities in Mae Hong Son provided a short English language classes to young Karens living Northern Thailand in 2017.
Most of my works in the past were about stories of communities in conflict with the state, nationalist tensions and ethnic conflicts. And it was imperative for my creative process, from research to public presentation, that the community should be involved in all the levels of production down to the consumption of meanings of the narratives about their communities. The writer must be part of the community and the writing should bring something back to the community. Theatre is always a communal enterprise – this is the foundation of my aesthetics as a playwright.
Below are some of the organisations and communities that they provided me the privilege to be part of and our community projects since 2017 which I was given the chance to share my skills, knowledge, and interests in community works. Communities that became, and still, my community.
Kanlungan Filipino Consortium is a London-based charity providing servives to Filipino communities in the UK. For more update on our activities and services you may visit our website, follow us on Twitter, or our Facebook page.
Donate to Kanlungan Filipino Consortium here.
The PINK Transcripts (2021 – present)
The PINK Transcripts is a project of the Southeast and East Asian Community Centre with the Kanlungan Filipino Consortium for the members of the LGBT communities within the Southeast and Asian communities in London. The project is supported by the Thrive London. The PINK Transcipt is divided into two phases: the first phase, a series of workshops to ‘transcribe’ the experiences of our participants through a series of theatre workshops as theraphy and the second phase (depending on the UK Government lockdown regulations) a series of workshops/rehearsals leading to a public performance.
Better Living Through Creative Writing (2020 – present)
Better Living Through Creative Writing is a community creative writing workshops for the members of Southeast and East Asian migrant communities in London. Each workshop session is divided into two parts: the first half is a class on English as a second language, and the second part, workshops on poetry, life writing, and fiction writing.
Initially, the workshop was being attended by Filipino and Vietnamese migrants. We opened it to other communities such as the Balochistan, Filipino-Germans in London, from black and South Asian communities. We moved our workshop sessions online since the lockdown due to Covid in 2020.
We are still conducting our workshop sessions and you may visit our Facebook page for more updates.
Karenni Social Development Center
Karenni Social Development Center is a school for Karenni stateless people in Thai-Burma border. The community gave the me a privilege to teach English to young Karennis as a volunteer in 2017.
Karenni is an ethnic group displaced by conflict in Burma (Myanmar). Most of them are living in the State of Kayah, settled refugees in a third country, or living as stateless people for several decades in Thai-Burma border.
Read the statement of KSDC here on the 2021 military coup in Burma.
Karenni Social Development Center runs on donations and volunteer works. You can send your donations here.