Daniel was a volunteer in Blue Dragon over the summer of 2015. An artist himself, he travels around the world to bring the joy of art to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
How long did you volunteer for Blue Dragon and what did you do?
I have been volunteering for Blue Dragon for around 5 months. I started at the beginning of June. I taught Blue Dragon’s kids art, usually on Tuesday morning from 9.30 to 11.30. Basically, I gave children art supplies and a couple of suggestions and then let them decide what to do.
I was also working with the garden project on the rooftop. So for 3 months I came in on Wednesday afternoon. We cut recycled plastic bottles, painted them and turned them into planters.
What was your most interesting discovery at Blue Dragon?
It’s always wonderful to see the children and what they make. The discovery is that they come in and make something that surprises me. I never know what they are going to make and I don’t tell them what to make. I’m so happy to see children coming up with really new and interesting ideas that I would never think of.
What is the impact of art on children?
Art is a very good outlet for children to express themselves, to understand things and use the emotions they may have in a constructive way. I feel that many forms of art like music, dance, theatre, painting, and drawing, can be used in such positive ways for the kids.
The children I met here are incredibly strong and independent. They have a lot of energy and desire. So they did create some amazing things drawing on their past experience. There is a hunger to express that, to share that and to show their identity and individuality.
What will you do now that you are returning home?
In April, I hope to do the exhibition of children’s art from Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, Friendship Village and Blossom House. And then I’m hoping to become a fundraiser, helping to raise the money for art supplies for the program here. At least, if anything else, it is to create awareness so people can learn more about what Blue Dragon does, the problems of sex trafficking, of sweatshops and all the positive things that Blue Dragon is doing.
What is one message you would like to convey to readers of Dragon Tales?
The staff are really caring and helpful. The students are great. I feel like they are just really interesting human beings who are creative and have great personality. I learnt a lot from everywhere.