Activating Art, Music, and the Youth for a Sustainable Community

Led by Kids for Kids PH, Laya at the South Park District brought sustainability, conservation, and cooperation to the forefront. By Jing Lejano

A portion of the mural created at the event at the South Park District in Alabang

Pineapple plantations alongside highways and houses, coconut trees and schools of fishes, mountains towering over skyscrapers, man and nature co-existing in harmony: these are only a few of the colorful images on display at a new, 150-meter interactive mural that debuted at Laya at the South Park District in Alabang.

An all-day art and music festival, Laya at the South Park District brought sustainability, conservation, and cooperation to the forefront of guests’ attention.

Photo by Kids for Kids PH

Homegrown brands headlining products made from indigenous materials were given space at the open-air tent. Indie bands inspired listeners to enjoy a better appreciation of nature, and do their part in making the world a better place.

Taking Concrete Action for Conservation

Beyond just hosting learning experiences, Laya offered many avenues by which participants could take concrete action on the festival grounds.

Some signed up with Bye Bye Plastic Bags, a global movement against plastic waste driven by youth around the world. Others learned more about gender equality through Girl Up, which was founded by the United Nations. And others painted their vision of a sustainable planet.

The last event was organized by youth organization Kids for Kids, a youth empowerment organization founded by sisters Tasha and Bella Tanjutco in 2015.

The sisters’ passion for youth empowerment stems from their age: as teenagers themselves, the Tanjutcos want to show their fellow kids that making change happen can happen as early as now.

“At Kids for Kids, we come together to make a difference,” Tasha Tanjutco told us. “We saw how there were so many kids who were capable of doing so many things, but they didn’t have a platform for it.”

Chasing Their Own Crazy Ideas

Tired of being told that the youth cannot be counted on to do anything and that they only had crazy ideas, Tasha and Bella leaned into the criticism — pouncing into action by chasing their own crazy ideas!

Kids for Kids began with Takbo, a race to raise funds for UNICEF’s 1000 Days, a campaign to provide adequate health and nutrition to less fortunate children within their first 1000 days.

The sisters started small, talking to their friends about what they wanted to do, who in turn told their respective networks about these kids who wanted to help other kids. On race day, in October 2015, the Tanjutco sisters were surprised when more than 300 runners showed up!

From this point on, there was no stopping the dynamic duo.

Kid-Powered Support

In its first three months, Kids for Kids’ volunteer sign-ups reached a thousand, which the sisters trimmed to a manageable hundred. The organization started with small outreach programs, going out to communities displaced by typhoons and bringing joy to the children by teaching them how to play football and make murals.

Encouraged by the kid-powered support, the organization came up with Kamalayan in 2016. An art exhibit for environmental awareness, it showcased 40 different artworks made from recycled materials. Proceeds from the sale of these artworks were forwarded to the art club in Sagada.

Kids for Kids proceeded to activate Kamalayan in different locations, spreading its advocacy for sustainable practices, environmental conservation, and community empowerment to a wide audience.

A Sustainable Environment for Change

Laya at the South Park District is an activation of Kamalayan, Tasha says, which puts the spotlight on freedom of expression as well as the dynamism between agriculture and urbanization.

Tasha Tanjutco of Kids for Kids PH

One of the leading developers in integrated, master-planned, and sustainable communities, Avida Land has always espoused respect for the environment and a better quality of life for its residents. South Park District is Avida Land’s first large-scale, mixed used development in southern Metro Manila which brings together a mix of residential condominiums — including Avida Towers Altura and the soon-to-be-launched Avida Towers Arden, a regional mall, office buildings, and a central park.

This is exactly the kind of sustainable environment where crazy ideas, such as those espoused by Kids for Kids, can bloom and blossom, paving the way for a world where humanity and nature can truly co-exist in harmony.