By: Geneviève Bisson

December 13th marked the launch of our Indiegogo campaign, our Pandoo Foundation Holiday party and my 29th birthday.

This was a great occasion to get everyone together that I have met since moving to the Philippines and to celebrate and share with them what we have been working on for the past few months.

It was party time in Cebu!  In the light of everything that has been happening in the Philippines recently it was important for us to incorporate a fundraising component to the night.

There we had a 4 in 1 party incorporating birthday/launch/fundraiser/Holidays.

By 5 O’clock on the day of the party we had all the material we needed and, lucky enough, I had my friend Stephanie and her husband Jason that came for a visit from Japan as well as Frank, the Foundation’s Executive Director, to help to set up and decorate.

Balloons, check. Bar, check. Sound system, check. Shuttle, check. Food, check. Cake, check. Fireworks, check. Band, check. Now all we needed were our guests.

The night turned out to be amazing! We had a screen set up and we Skyped with our other party live from Singapore. It was great to see the rest of the Pandoo team and it felt like we were all celebrating this exciting night together.

My friend Marcie came with a group of children from her neighborhood where we sponsor their dance lessons. They did a dance show for everyone and they we’re fantastic! To top it all off, Marcie had written a song for my birthday and in the middle of it the kids began clapping. Now, clapping in the middle of songs ALWAYS gets me weepy so this song hit me right in the heart.  Goes to show that the best gifts in life are free – the energy, time, love and creativity put into it was priceless. Thank you, Marciepants. To continue the heartfelt gift my best friend Francine made a video with messages from my friends back home. It was great to see them all and it felt like they were part of the night. Both of these gestures overwhelmed me with gratitude about the quality of people that I am lucky to have in my life and that I love so much.

The night continued with an amazing acoustic band and I decided to become a part of it with the extra microphone lying around. This, for me, was a delight but I think everyone would have booed me off if it weren’t for the fact that it was my birthday.

By 11:30, our place was full and Frank and I gave a speech and showed the video. At that moment, I felt like our campaign was officially launched. Everyone loved it and was excited about what this game and the Foundation could bring to the Philippines.

This campaign is exciting for so many reasons.  Our whole team is so passionate about the Pandoo Nation concept and everyone that we come across and share it with also shares the enthusiasm. Now we can show just what a game changer Pandoo Nation is to a broader audience.

I know people will see that we need a game like this. We need it to connect kids from around the world with something they can relate to.  We need to come up with alternatives ways to teach them values and about world issues. We need to connect them to things that matters.

When we say: What if it isn’t entirely a game. We mean it! Watch and see!