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.
Dec 20, 2014

Cancer Care Program Expands for Kids and Moms

Kids of Hope Center, Davao
Kids of Hope Center, Davao

In 2014, Asia America Initiative achieved a heartfelt goal when 49 of thefirst 50 cancer patients in Manila, Philippines -- whose treatment was aided by contributions from the Global Giving community -- were diagnosed as cancer free. In addition, seven children with terminal hereditary genetic illnesses are living healthy normal lives thanks to the generous donation of specialized medicines by a major US-based pharmaceutical company. We ceclebrate and embrace each life saved. However, the rate of serious diseases such as cancer is growing worldwide. Cancer treatment organizations and service providers are concerned that the availability to obtain cancer medicines, especially by people living below the poverty line, remains a serious challenge,  As a result, we have decided to expand the program, not only in Manila, but in the most impoverished region of Mindanao where such treatment is extremely difficult to receive. 

In addition to maintaining our relationship with the medical professionals at the Philippines National Institutes of Health in Manila, we are forging an alliance with the Kids of Hope charitable organization and the Children's Cancer and Blood Disease Unit of the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao. We have begun assistance for supplemental health and nutrition needs of children undergoing specialized treatment at CCBDU and staying at the neighboring Hope Center in Davao for children whose families earn less than $5 per day. The program includes art supplies, story books and toys to instill positive attitudes, love and the will power to live. We also support  literacy and livelihood training to empower the Moms and Grandmoms to overcome poverty and inspire their communities.

Quality medical care does not exist in most of Mindanao, and travel to specialized clinics is too expensive for most families. In addition, severe poverty and malnutrition afflict more than 60% of the population. Healing from cancer involves more than medicine; it requires a more positive and joyful attitude which is difficult to develop in impoverished communities. Dr. Yolanda Ortega Stern, Director of the One World Institute, says: "The international support from Asia America Initiative to the community based coalition of Kids of Hope and the Southern Provincial Medical Center, could ultimately save hundreds of young lives and act as a model for global partnertship in the effort to heal cancer patients. The children live in remote impoverished areaas, but the love they receive from people from all over the world is their best medicine." 

This Cancer Treatment program is an international model of donor kindness and corporate social responsibility.  By surviving, and experiencing hope, the multi-ethnic children and women inspire their neighbors in large ghetto communities. Adult literacy and education will enable surviving women to provide better lives for their families. For children living in dire poverty the influence of violent crime and militant extremism is a constant temptation. This holistic program in multi-ethnic and diverse religious communities such as in the Mindanao region is also a model for peaceful co-existence.  We are exremely grateful to all who have supported us in the past. We ask you to please remember us and feel welcome to be part of our growing team. 

Dr. Mae Dolendo, oncolcogist, Kids of Hope
Dr. Mae Dolendo, oncolcogist, Kids of Hope
fun activities for children in cancer care
fun activities for children in cancer care

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Dec 9, 2014

Animal-borne Disease A Risk in Flooded Communities

The Philippines is among the most natural disaster plagued countries in the world, according to United Nations agencies. During 203 and 2014 the two most destructive typhoons on the planet -- Typhoon Haiyan and Typhoon Hagupit have devastated the Philippines.  Causing millions of displaced persons and altering the environment, including longstanding stagnant water which breeds myriad tropical diseases to humans and animals.  Asia America Initiative saw the value of domestic animals, especially dogs being a comfort in the emotion recovery process for children.  But human medical treatment, food and clean water needs are extensive and very expensive.  We are continuously in consultation with community leaders and medical experts we are assisting in flood relief asctivities, They have expressed  a consistent professional opinion regarding domestic animals that there is a recent history of domestic animals spreading disease.  This is done through communicable and potentially life threatening diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis and plague. Medical assistance for thiese diseases can be costly for  a family that has lost their livelihood due to storm destruction of shops, crops and fisheries.  It costs more than $100 for medical treatment of rabies and potentially lethal fevers caused by leptospirosis -- similar to bublonic plague. Many families earn leass than $100 per month for basic survival. More dangerous is in flood damaged communities there is little to no medical treatment available.  Due to enormous humanitarian needs caused by the December 2014 Typhoon which caused havoc over large areas of the Philippine central and northern islands, AAI has decided to consolidate  all funds available to human needs. Previous donations for our pet rescue program were spent in agricultural communities in Iloilo and Capiz provinces of Visays, which are still  revbuilding.  While we are unable to directly assistdomestic animals at this time, we are grateful to Global Giving donors who assisted us in this program.  We will continue animal rescues, even without designated funds, when emergency cases come to our atention in flood damaged communities. 

Oct 13, 2014

School Gardens and Nutrition in Typhoon Areas

AAI waterpipe: handwashing mandatory, all students
AAI waterpipe: handwashing mandatory, all students

The greatest challenge one year after typhoon Haiyan is that hundreds of communities are still severely damaged.  Food and shelter is still desperately lacking.  And illnesses caused by lack of clean water and malnutrition is rampant in countless schools.  Asia America Initiative has mobilized local communities as partners to provide resilient and long-term clean water, nutrition, gardening, school books and supplies and rubber sandals for children who must walk 2 or three miles to school each day.

One of Asia America Initiative's model schools and communities is the Bulak Elementary School in Batad Iloilo, a farming and fishing community, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan one year ago. Our goal for the school's 300 children to assist their parents and teachers rebuild and create lasting solutions for the most essential needs of the children through the end of the 2014-15 school year.  

 At Bulak Elementary School in Batad, 6th grade teacher Maria Joseta Peregil, says:               

“Ours is a farming community where most families live by a ‘hand-to-mouth’ existence.  Every day, we witness the struggles of our pupils. Many of them go to school wearing worn-out rubber sandals and clothes. Their worn-out school bags have insufficient school supplies. Some walk three to four kilometers to school without eating their breakfast.  This situation make them difficult to teach because often our pupils are restless and noisy. As teachers we do our best to help them.  We even take what little funds we have from our own pocket to reach out but we cannot afford that much. We have our own struggles too, trying to ‘make both ends met’ with our meager salary.”

These children are met with insufficiency in every essential need.  At home, there’s not enough food to eat and no decent clothes to wear.  In school, students lack basic facilities such as access to water, toilets, windows and ventilation in classrooms, and few school books.  When Typhoon Yolanda struck our community and destroyed our homes and school, the children were even more deprived of the little they had. We did not believe there were people out there who were loving and caring enough to share with us.

We were surprised to find that there are still many kind-hearted people around the world who care.  But charitable foundations come and go to give relief goods and shelter.  Their help only lasted for a while.  What we need is a sustainable program to help us rebuild our lives, if only for a year to help us gain strength and fully recover from the tragedy.

God is really good.  Asia America Initiative (AAI) came unannounced and gave us books, rubber sandals, school supplies and tents which makes our pupils very happy.  AAI President Albert Santoli required the whole community to work together to make the programs strong and to share our resources in support of each other.  It made the children feel the LOVE and CARE necessary to overcome the trauma of the tsunami and broken lives (aside from their parents and teachers).  It helped them regain their dignity, self-confidence, and trust. The donated textbooks enhanced their interest in reading and learning.  Their new sandals protect their feet and make them look neat and presentable. Among all these efforts by AAI, it is the Daily Feeding Program cooked by school mothers, which motivates the children to go to school every day. For the children, school is now the best place to dwell because they learn and are hungry no more. Even we teachers are happy because we can also eat and don’t teach with hungry stomachs anymore.  Pupils’ absences have been minimized.  The parents are inspired to be more diligent and cooperative in all activities of the school especially in cooking for their children.

We asked for a little LOVE and a chance to regain our dignity, but we received much, much more through AAI listening and making sure the children’s plea, and wishes for a normal life without hunger, sickness and fear were granted.

On the wall of the main classroom building, which is still damaged from the tsunami wave and wind that turned reinforced steel stone buildings into bent and twisted ruins, are two big cardboard sign with the picture of a rubber sandal -- the new symbol of hope.  One sign celebrates the community's partnership with Asia America Initiative.  The other sign includes the words "Thank You Global Giving." 

Outdoor school kitchen, cooked by moms
Outdoor school kitchen, cooked by moms
Big cooking pots bought by AAI for school
Big cooking pots bought by AAI for school
Dads help serve school lunch too!
Dads help serve school lunch too!
Children learn good hygiene/handwash before lunch
Children learn good hygiene/handwash before lunch
Providing rubber sandals to every school child
Providing rubber sandals to every school child
Bulak students thank Global Giving for sandal fund
Bulak students thank Global Giving for sandal fund

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