Saturday, November 28, 2015

Color Matters: Colors Matter

Have a look at the following classrooms and let's talk about colors!

At Tugbong Central School in Kananga, Leyte:
Dark-green window grills; green door/window jambs; aquamarine baseline paint!

light-green wall, dark-green cabinet; green baseline-paint, mouldings, jambs;
aquamarine blackboard frame

At Cacao Elementary School also in Kananga, Leyte:
Classroom on the left has light-yellow walls with dark-yellow (well, almost
brown) mouldings, with yellow cabinets, but with a green window frame!
Classroom on the right (an adjacent room with that one on the left) has
greens and light-greens like it is at Tugbong ES. But with red electric fans!

At San Isidro Elementary School in Hernani, Eastern Samar:
Dark Green baseline paint. Nice! But they made the railing also dark green instead of the usual "stainless"

Different shades of green inside classroom!

At Calsadahay Elementary School in Burauen, Leyte:
Its a combination of greens and yellows, but notice the baseline paint and the grills - brown! 

At Garawon Elementary School, Hernani Eastern Samar:
Its generally the same as above, without the yellows and browns!

At Salvacion Elementary School in Dulag, Leyte: the yellows prevail!

Seeing the increasing number of these classrooms done under the ADB JFPR Grant 9175 fund, with what seemed like randomly selected interior colors, I approached Vince the supervising engineer (
Engr. Vince Cabaluna), with my little observation. And I said: "I actually like the look and feel inside these classrooms (Salvacion Elementary School's newly built 4 classrooms), they're airy bright, even if I imagine there are 40 to 50 pupils. But why is it different in every school we have turned over? Don't we have a uniform plan on this? Don't contractors get enough paint prior to constructing these classrooms?"

The crisp answer was "ilaha man na choice, sir (that was their choice, sir)" - as he pointed to the kids.

Me: I see. When did this happen?

Vince: Just before the paint job. The CDF (community dev't facilitator) with the help of teachers gathered all classes identified to occupy these rooms. Then they conducted something like a playshop until the kids were already in the mood for an artwork activity.

Me: All four sections? Including the little ones to occupy that room at the end?

Vince: Yes. The kindergarten pupils really did identify what colors they want! They would even have their own little debates before agreeing on a color!

Me: How was the matter opened to them?

Vince: The kids were told 'if they had to choose the colors of their new classrooms, what would those colors be'? Then they were presented some 30 color patches and combinations, together with presenting them what parts of the entire room needed a color.

Me: Interesting! But, won't the DepEd scold us for this?

Vince: No. We already asked the regional offices and they told us, the donor may choose their colors, so that it'll be easy for them and DepEd to remember who gave what.

Me: Thanks. Now this is really building back better. You, our implementing partners considering the needs and wants of the direct beneficiaries themselves, that's superb.

Thus went my long curious conversation with Engr, Vince. He promised they'll ensure I witness first-hand the next "coloring session"!

Dear readers, this may seem trivial to many of us. But, imagine this: wouldn't you want to choose the colors inside your bedroom? Or even your entire house? A classroom is where these kids live for the greater part of their waking hours. So they better have a hand on how it should look and feel! It is their right, I think. And good that Plan International recognizes that! Color does matter in building back better - happier!

Alright folks, I'll let you in on my story once I get to witness the next "coloring session"!



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