Asia America Initiative

The mission of AAI is to build hope and empower communities afflicted by armed conflict and severe poverty. We believe that peace, security and respect for human dignity are inseparable. Our goal is to develop programs as sustainable models that can be replicated globally. Our people-to-people initiatives integrate health, education, arts and livelihood as a basis for mediation. By building Hope, we overcome the hatred propagated by terror organizations. The success of these cost-effective models shows that empowering impoverished and conflict-plagued communities strengthens international security, stability and peace.
Jul 7, 2015

Closeout of Dog Rescue in Flood Areas Program

AAI Nurse Faith at Carataya Elementary, Capiz,
AAI Nurse Faith at Carataya Elementary, Capiz,

Devastating floods in the Visayas areas of the Philippines caused by typhoon storms and heavy rainfall have a serious helath and nutrition impact on millions of children.  They also affect domestic animals such as dogs,who are abundant in every small village and town.  With food scarce all nutritional need must have the priority of "children first," which every family sees as their duty.  Some 18 months after Typhoon, many communities and thousands of families are still in dire need in the vast area that was damaged.  Asia America Initiave, supported by donors from Global Giving has been able to keep trust and service to a number of the most in-need and under-supported communities who feel abandoned and at the edge of survival.  AAI's program coordinator in Visayas is Registered Nurse Faith Dela Torre, who was born and lives with her husband and children in this region. We have had discussions with many local educators and medical professionals to seek their guidance in program priorities at this time.

"In all of the communties we serve,"  says Nurse Faith, " communityleaders have asked us to keep our priorities on the children's essential needs. They have told us that thus far there have been few cases of illness, such as rabies, in domestic animals and that the dogs are able to scavenge for food.  Veterinary care is truly in short supply, but thank God I have not seen any infectuous diseases carried by animals in our communities."

For those reasons excpressed by community health leaders, we have closed the Dog Rescue Program.The $185 we received in donations has been spent on the program's basic needs.  

We welcome donors to consider donating to our multi-service flood relief program, Food And Water For Philippine Typhoon Survivors, https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/philippines-disaster-relief-fund/  

We and our beneficiary communities are very grateful for your support.

Links:

Jul 7, 2015

6th Grade Mini-Nurses Inspire Community Action

Munding Mini Nurses in action and having fun
Munding Mini Nurses in action and having fun

 

In Jolo, Philippines, the struggling and very crowded Haji Hassiman Higad Elmentary School suffered a devastating blow in 2013 when a fire destroyed the school. More than 800 elementary age children from some of the most impoverished communities in the region nearly had their educational futures destroyed. Out of the ashes rose a new community spirit to overcome this cruel fate and build a better future. Supported by local non-profit groups, labor from parents, and now Asia America Initiative (AAI) with Global Giving’s donors, they began clearing out the ashes and reconstructing their school. Among the first buildings was a new school clinic. This success led to the formation of a new group of volunteers consisting of 5th and 6th grade boys and girls who volunteered to help in their school clinic and clean up the ruins from the fire. Their program is called the Munting [Mini] Nurses and is led by school nurse, Myrla S. Kiram.

“The Munting Nurses are our little [Florence] Nightingales,” says Nurse Myrla Kiram. “They volunteer to do the hard jobs and are absolutely delighted to help their fellow students. Thanks to AAI we have been able to double their number to 25 participants. They are a joyful inspiration to us all.”

In the Philippines, natural disasters and social conflicts have caused suffering of millions of Filipino children. Poverty, storms, and inter-cultural violence are abundant in the Philippines. A school-aged population of more than 65 million children and youths are mostly impoverished and malnourished. Sulu Province, with a majority Muslim population, remains at the bottom of the UN's worldwide Human Development Index. Christian communities in Visayas are still recovering after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, where close to 3 million people still lack adequate shelter. In both regions, few schools have sufficient text books, clean water, or adequate nutrition, and most lack basic tools for livelihood training.

AAI programs empower elementary and high schools as the centers of progress in struggling communities. Currently, we have expanded—thanks to many donors through Global Giving and gifts in kind from many sources – to provide clean water and hygiene tools to close to 35,000 children and youth. We support literacy, livelihood, gardening, and school lunches cooked by parents to enhance health and nutritional progress which is needed to have the strength and energy for a child to be alert and active in the classroom. Our first targeted goal in 2014 was to aid 10,000 children in ten schools. We have expanded carefully with a tight budget to provide support to close to 35,000 elementary, high school, and college students this school year.

Our child-centered programs build inter-faith and intercultural trust and friendship. We act as a bridge between communities by posting pictures on social media and short descriptions of best practices being developed in our programs. That generates appreciation of the common bonds among teachers, parents, and school nurses in disparate Christian and Muslim communities. And we emphasize our equal respect and support to all school communities.

Dr. Nur-Aisha Gonzalez, principal of Kasambuhan Elementary School in Sulu says, “AAI has been a blessing with their continuous respect and support to our schools. The faces of primary learners glitter with much happiness and their pride to receive the white book bag painted with bold AAI acronym. Definitely, they were all full of energy to attend their respective classes because of the essential classroom supplies from AAI. The educational assistance can be categorized into such instructional materials, nutritional support, cookware and utensils, clean water support, medicines, and hygiene. Mr. Santoli's mutual respect with our community brought about the expansion of AAI educational supports to many schools. Similarly parents are also proud of their school children receiving such supplies from donors and educational partners around the world. They intensely feel the value of their children's education shown by those supporters in pursuit of quality education.”

Rebuilt School Clinic at Haji Hassiman Elementary
Rebuilt School Clinic at Haji Hassiman Elementary
Munting Mini Nurses and their mentor at clinic
Munting Mini Nurses and their mentor at clinic
Munding Mini Nurse applicants taking test
Munding Mini Nurse applicants taking test
Playing in the ruins of the burned schoolhouse
Playing in the ruins of the burned schoolhouse
HHES Mini nurses after a good day
HHES Mini nurses after a good day's work
water tanks store rainwater at AAI schools
water tanks store rainwater at AAI schools
Flower pot veggie garden at Haji Hassiman ES
Flower pot veggie garden at Haji Hassiman ES
Ruins of Haji Hassiman Elementary after the fire
Ruins of Haji Hassiman Elementary after the fire
Flower pot veggie garden at Haji Hassiman ES
Flower pot veggie garden at Haji Hassiman ES

Links:

Jun 25, 2015

Moms and Dads to the Rescue

Children share clean water for hygiene in school
Children share clean water for hygiene in school

Food and Water are essential for Life and Learning.  They are the staple provisions to public schools supported by Asia America Initiative. Many areas of Visayas, Philippines were devastated in late 2013 by 200 mile-per-hour winds, floods and surging tidal waves caused by the historic typhoon Haiyan.  Many communities are still in the midst of a difficult recovery, including hundreds of schools.  Although we cannot help everyone, we set realistic goals. Our objective Number One:  Be consistent with food and water for at least ten schools with around 2,500 childen per day or 10,000 lunches and clean water per week. Number Two:  Assist parents and local farming and fishing coops regain their self-reliance as food providers for their communities.  We now call this innovative but practical program "Mom and Dads to the Rescue" [where government fails].

According to the United Nations and Red Cross, during the first half of 2015, some 3 million persons remain internally displaced or destitute from the late-2013 storm that swept across the central Philippine islands.  Government support has been inconsistent and foreign organizations have mostly departed after running out of funds needed to assist millions of people per month.  Asia America Initiative is still in the midst of providing meaningful support with the aid of impoverished school children's parents, thanks to three factors: Consistent donors such as from our friends at Global Giving; strict budgeting and oversight; and community action with everyone working together to do their fair share of work and sacrifice for the good of their children.  

Catig-Lacadon Elementary School in Duenas, Iloilo.has 190 pupils on a steep hilltop surrounded by forests.  6 months after Typhoon Haiyan most children at the school were malnourished and clean water was severely lacking.   Principal Rowena Ortizo says,  "Our community has always been made of simple farm laborers who have been satisfied with the basic neccesseties of life.  But Typhoon Haiyan dealt us a terrible blow that took even our modest comforts and destroyed our farm fields and water wells, denying us the ability to feed ourselves properly.  Being is the remote countryside we received no international aid or support except from Asia America Initiative.  Because AAI staff is made of local people, especially Nurse Faith Dela Torre, their leadership in Washington such as Mr. Santoli became familiar with our difficult situation.  When he heard our story, AAI did not turn their backs to the needs of our children and community.  They did not have much money, either.  But they asked us what we needed and the parents were willing to work hard to do the labor to rebuild and mothers volunteered to cook school lunches every day."  

The entire school year, AAI kept our promise to provide funds to buy fresh vegetables and chickens and eggs for daily school meals.  Vitamins and milk were also distributed at least tweice per week.  AAI's Nurse Faith bought weight scales with Global Giving donated funds to do monthly charting of all children's weight and height. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, thanks to "Moms to the Rescue" backed with funds raised by AAI through Global Giving, less than one percent of children had malnutrition in the school.  

In the new 2015-16 school year, our goal is to have no malnutrition at Catig-Lacadon and in six additional schools in the surrounding rural area.  School gardens are being planted  by parents.  And a partnership between AAI and the Philippine Department of Agriculture has provided farming tools, irrigation hoses and workshops in organic gardening attended by close to 100 parents.  The weekend of May 30, 2015 following the organic gardening workshop, the local mayor loaned a water buffalo to each of 3 schools in Duenas District who had received the Department of Agriculture and AAI training. 

"The people may have suffered a  terrible blow," observes nurse Faith, "but they have pride and love for each other.  AAI treats everyone with equal respect and our donors like Global Giving encouraged them not to give up. As a result, they have risen to the occasion."

parents plant school-based garden in typhoon zone
parents plant school-based garden in typhoon zone
children help parent plant school-based garden
children help parent plant school-based garden
students harvest squash at school garden
students harvest squash at school garden
organic garden class for parents at local school
organic garden class for parents at local school
school children help Moms prepare garden lunch
school children help Moms prepare garden lunch

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