STORY: Teaching peace through art

Louise Nunez got involved with Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBPM) in 2014. He worked on the EDSA Peace Mural as one of the lead artists where he met some of the members of the organizing team, TPBPM Founder and Executive Director Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman or Ate Honey and Major Genesis Gabrido who was then part of the 7th Civil Relations Group.

TPBPM conducts peace missions with its volunteers. These peace missions help volunteers have an in-depth and firsthand understanding of the organization’s initiatives and partner communities.

Louise recounts that last May 2016, during a Summer Peace Mission in Porac, Pampanga. While sharing his artistic skills, Louise interacted with an Aeta community and taught kids in the uphill village of Barangay Sapang Uwak for four days. He showed the kids how to draw as part of the organization’s SketchPad Project Workshop. Louise got to know them better and eventually formed a closer bond with the community.

“There was a lot of fumbling and uncertainty at first but, I have grown to love [kids] because teaching them has been an ecstatic experience. We would go to different places to teach and the kids were really excited for us to return,” said Louise as he described what he felt during his first peace mission.

“I thought I was a boring teacher but, I saw the kids were really eager to learn. I was so conscious but they were really happy and energetic so I had to match their energy. Through their drawings, I learned their narratives which made me love them more,” he added.

“At first, I thought painting murals was my only contribution to TPBPM which at first, I felt was not enough. I really thought that I would only be exposed to painting since I was not yet immersed with the other activities of the organization,” he continues.

Louise also shared that “TPBPM helped me discover myself more. I realized I wasn’t only set to make murals or to become a lead artist but, I can also facilitate. You could feel TPBPM’s trust even though you are new,” when asked what surprised him about working with TPBPM.

Teach Peace Build Peace Movements works with different organizations and sectors to promote peace and impart values and knowledge on how to be effective peacebuilders. After Louise’s peace mission with the indigenous peoples of Porac, Pampanga, he also engaged with soldiers of the CMO School during their Peace Journey. Peace Journey Sessions is a program where peace heroes from different sectors, ages and faiths embark on a journey of self-discovery, reflection and learning more about other religions, cultures and stories.

Recounting his experience of facilitating the CMO School’s Peace Journey, Louise shared, “Kat encouraged me to go to the Peace Journey in CMO. She trusted my capacity to facilitate. After I facilitated, I became more interested in volunteering and in joining Peace Journey sessions and peace missions.”

“When I work with Kat, I learn how to really articulate and explain what we teach about peace. I was able to relate love to soldiers; that their heart is in serving the nation,” Louise added.

“Before, I knew soldiers as really tough people but I also realized that these soldiers are really serious and committed in the things they do. At that point, I also asked myself if I was serious in what I was doing, that I also need to be serious in what I say and in how I act,” he continues.

Louise shared about what he wished other people knew about TPBPM, Louise shared, “TPBPM accepts everyone in the organization. When we helped in Marawi, I want people to know that we are a non-government organization; that we are non-partisan.

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