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.
Jun 25, 2014

Education + Livelihood = Hope

AAI scholar Fatima Jean Dimas graduates cum laude
AAI scholar Fatima Jean Dimas graduates cum laude
Two important keys to Peace and Development are education and livelihood creation. Asia America Initiative has committed to assist in the 2014-15 school year an additional  20 juniors and 20 seniors at the respected Visayas State Univerisy in historic Leyte island of the philippines to finish their college degrees with the promise from a public health corporation of employment opportunities for the graduates. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, after their families lost all of their possessions, these students did not believe they could finish school and learn professional skills. Today you can support these scholars to complete their educations and rebuild their communities.Our first graduates in 2014 included a number of Cum Laude Honors award recipients.  They can be a shining success story for impacted communities, not only in the Philippines but all around the world.
Our first 20 graduates in 2014 included two young women Elisha and Fatima Jean, who graduated Cum Laude. The scholars "batch" of 2015 are also a wonderful group of young men and women.  We are fortunate that while Asia America Initiave with support from our donors at Global Giving provided funds for tuition, fees, transportation and books,Our good friend at IPI Corporation [International Pharma] and their Foundation provided mentoring trhough Ms. Lourdes Damazo as part of the scholarship program [similar to intern but in classroom setting] and the One World Institute headed by Economics Ph.D. Yolanda Stern and her husband Dr. Tom Stern, MD of Stanford University in California provided other forms of advice and coordination.  We all put aside our ego's to work unselfishly for the benefit of the students.  At the end of the first seme4ster of the program 20 out of 20 scholars graduated and are now preparing for jobs.
Many students at VSU are the children of subsistance farmers and fishermen.  One scholar, Daniel, age 21, comes from a rural farming area of Leyte.  At graduation ceremony at VSU explained, "My family lost everything, and I have only one parent...  so I was struggling to find a way to finish the last year of my education. I had no one to turn to.  I feel inexpressable happoiness bcause now I have proved that we can overcome life's adversity with the encouragement and help of friends -- even if they are strangers who have not ever met me or my mother.  Thanks to the bright Scholars program I can believe in having a future." 
Another student, Elisha, 20, who became a Cum laude graduate stated, "I cried eery day becausse I did not even have 10 pesos [25 cents] to pay for the cost of a bicycle tazxi to get to my school each day.  I could not believe when Ms. Lourdes and our College President announced that last year students would be chosen based on their grades ansd charactser to become Bright Future Scholars.  I want to thank every perrson overseas who donated to me so I can now work and make enough pay to help feed my family."
VSU President, Dr. Jose Bacusmo thanks everyone who assisted, adding, "After the huge storm we did not know how a number of our excellent students could afford to finish schools due to their families and communities devasation, not even having houses to live in... not even tents.  Our heartfelt joy is expressed every day.  This scholarship program is beyond our most impossible dreams."
Dear Donors:  The educators and students at VSU are a shining example for the wortld.  They cannot do it alone.  WE can do this together.
Commencement ceremony at VSU -- overcoming typhoon
Commencement ceremony at VSU -- overcoming typhoon
Bright Futures Scholars all present and achieving
Bright Futures Scholars all present and achieving
Ms. Lourdes, Elisha and VSU advisor
Ms. Lourdes, Elisha and VSU advisor
scholars 2014 batch on VSU campus
scholars 2014 batch on VSU campus
scholars with mentor Ms. Lourdes
scholars with mentor Ms. Lourdes

Links:

May 8, 2014

NGO and corporate partners in e-classrooms

Asturias Elementary School e-classroom set up
Asturias Elementary School e-classroom set up

Asia America Initiative's Education and Entrepreneurship for Peace program has joined the Philippine Department of Education and Hewlett Packard Corporation [HP] in creating model electronic classrooms [e-classrooms] at Camp Asturias Elementary School in Jolo city in the highly impoverished and war-torn Sulu province.  Most schools in Sulu lack the most basic education necessities such as chairs, books, paper and pencils, and lack the most basic medical and sanitation needs of the children.  Since 2002, AAI has assisted more than 24 elementary and high schools and colleges in the province and more than 30,000 students and and we have helped provide training to scores of teachers.  Camp Asturias Elementary principal Abdurasul Sajili says, "The e-classrooms have added inspiration and a new horizon for education and future employment for our pupils.  Asia America initiative has been in our community working with teachers, parents and children to develop[ community ownership and pride in our educational efforts.  With more humane classroom conditions, our student retention and graduation rates have increased substantially.  Thanks to the encouragement of AAi and other NGOS and generous companies such as HP to assist with new technologies that let us know that our children can have a brighter future."

All of AAI's development teams in the area are locally born and speak the native languages, with a resurgent emphasis in remedial literacy and English langauge to qualify for the integration of new technologies that will link remote schools to modern economies.  "We are inspired by the hard work and sacrifices of the local school teachers and parents who have sacrificed so much for the good of their children,"  says AAI president Santoli.  "Technology copmpanies like HP provide the tools and training opportunities to inspire  young people to study hard and not give up on life.  The opportunity to work is a deterrence to violence and creates harmony within a community...  We are also grateful to our donors from Global Giving who help make all of this possible with donations of all sizes."

To assist with this program, a chair for the computer lab costs only $8.  A school bag filled with school supplies, notebooks and hygiene products like hand sanitizers costs only $10 per student.  The cost of builing a septic tank and toilet for a classroom costs only $500, and a generator for back-up power supply for 10 computers is around $700.  

AAI is honored to assist with the e-classrooms and we invite the global giving community to assist with the basic but all-important support components.  Help us to "create peace by building hope" through education tied to livelihood.

technicians install HP computers in e-classroom
technicians install HP computers in e-classroom
needy outdoor classrooms in Jolo
needy outdoor classrooms in Jolo
AAI
AAI's Al Santoli welcomed by Jolo school teachers
Al Santoli with kindergarten child, Asturias ES
Al Santoli with kindergarten child, Asturias ES
crowded pre-K class at Asturias ES
crowded pre-K class at Asturias ES
chalkboards but no books in Asturias ES
chalkboards but no books in Asturias ES
new Asturias ES e-classroom  needs books & chairs
new Asturias ES e-classroom needs books & chairs

Links:

Apr 22, 2014

Self-Sufficiency for Philippine typhoon survivors

Baliguan Island Fishing coordinator Mr. Zacarias
Baliguan Island Fishing coordinator Mr. Zacarias

On April 21, 2014. volunteers from Asia America Initiative embarked on a two-hour boat ride to Baliguian Island in the Visayan Sea between Iloilo and Cebu provinces to participate in the christening ceremony of 6 motorboats built by fishing families to resestablish their fishing trade and feed themselves in the wake of devastating Typhoon Yolanda.  The materials for the boats were paid for by Asia America Initiative with support from Globalgiving donors.  The craftsmanship was done by the local fishing families, who have lived on this island for centuries.  This AAI fisheries program affects more than 300 persons who live on Baliguian island.

The project coordinator on Baliguian Island is Mr. Barry Zacharias, a community leader and fisherman, who volunteered to give 20 other families acces and ownership of the co-op motorized boats before his own family would be provided for. In response, AAI made sure that his family was also included with funds from AAI President Albert Santoli in Washington. Mr. Santoli said, "Recovery from the typhoon requires unselfish leadership and community cooperation.  Mr. Zacharias demonstrated these noble qualities, and we wanted to make sure he and his family, including three small children, were not forgotten.  I guess they trusted us, too...  that is the beauty of this process and the reason we can do so much with the the funds we raise with the help of our Globalgiving donors.  

 Other fisherfolk recipients of AAI boats, with formal titles, are  

               1. Johnny Canillas

                  Wife- Mary Grace Canillas 

               2. Erlito Juanito

                   Wife- Susan Juanito

               3. Norberto Zacarias

                  Wife- Luz Zacarias

               4. Leo Bacongco

                 Wife - Lourdes Bacongco

               5. Gary Z. Marquez

                  Wife - Mary Marquez

              6. Charlzon Bantillo

                  Wife - Joy Jean Bantillo 

The island was devastated by the typhoon winds and a tsunami-like tidal wave  in November 2013.  The finalization of the boats took a little time as the materials were purchased at a reduced price from the main island of Concepcion on the coast of iloilo Province.  Island to island transport is done through passenger boats that usually have limited trips.  We budgeted our funds to build sturdier and bigger boats with motors to withstand the heavy seas now more dangerous because of climate change.  Our motorboats are fit to survive the open sea. 

Soon, We will be purchasing $1,500 worth of materials  including hooks, strings and petromax (lamps powered by gasoline) and we will turn it over this week so they can start catching squids and other fish after the formal turn over. 

In addition AAI also turned over 2 boxes of books to the only elementary school in Baliguian Island, as we have made education of the children an additional priority. 

AAi Coordinator in Visayas, Marlon Jinon, says, "During the turn-over ceremony, islanders cried a lot of times because they were so happy that they will now be able to feed and educate their children. 

They thank AAI and our Globalgiving partners for your support." 

AAI youth volunteers carrying new boats to sea
AAI youth volunteers carrying new boats to sea
Baliguian island residents cleaning beach
Baliguian island residents cleaning beach
Baliguian fisher folk thank God for life and boats
Baliguian fisher folk thank God for life and boats
fisher families who built boats now receive titles
fisher families who built boats now receive titles
Baliguians built new boats now Christen them
Baliguians built new boats now Christen them
community fiesta meal celebrate new AAI  boats
community fiesta meal celebrate new AAI boats
Beauty of Baliguian Island and Visayan Sea
Beauty of Baliguian Island and Visayan Sea

Links:

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