#TatagPinoy: Art for Charity
by Maria Nicole Dominique Dimayacyac
As the pandemic dragged on and kept Filipinos unemployed, the latest figures of pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that 4.2 million families are experiencing involuntary hunger. With more than a year of COVID-19 and its devastating effects, an artist who strives to make a difference in her community decided to take action.
"I just cannot bear seeing the people, especially kids, starving and do nothing," said Reana "Yna" Carloto, a nurse, a Red Cross volunteer, and an artist whose childhood dream was to help others in many possible ways.
Recalling her high school days, with just a little of what she had, Yna enjoyed sharing her food with those in need. It was her parents' generosity that showed her the value of helping and giving. Seeing how happy people can be with her parents' kind acts, she thought of doing the same. Thus, having to be in a family of nurses, she chose the same career to have a better way of helping people. However, it was not enough for Yna that she is already serving the people with her profession.
Even before, Yna has loved the feeling of having colors in her hands, and it was just during this pandemic when she started painting on canvas. Without any expectations of having a positive response from people in her artwork, Yna used her talent for a better cause. Experiencing how underpaid nurses are in the Philippines, she began selling her artwork to fund her charity projects. She was even indifferent to the fact that she will be entering the unpredictable world of the art business, where sales often come in waves and art is underappreciated by many, as long as she can help.
"What pushed me is I saw what the people needed. Iba kasi yung feeling kapag nakita mo silang masaya habang kumakain. Doon pa lang win-win na ‘ko," Yna shared.
Through sharing photos of her paintings on Facebook, Yna was able to gain clients and raise enough money to run a community pantry and a feeding program in various locations. More so, she also met artists who are willing to sponsor her project.
When asked which gave her the most satisfaction, helping through her profession or talent, Yna chose the latter. "Kasi dun wala akong ine-expect in return, unlike as a nurse, I still expect to get paid," she answered.
For Yna, painting is no longer just her way to cope with life problems; it has also become her way of helping people cope with the hunger they are experiencing. With her dedication, Yna plans to continue what she does best, helping through her profession and talent simultaneously.
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