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.
May 24, 2013

Navigating Cancer and Rare Disease Patients to Life-Saving Treatment

AAI delivers PCS a GlobalGiving donation
AAI delivers PCS a GlobalGiving donation

The production of many cancer medicines, especially those which can most readily save the lives of children, are  in short supply worldwide these days.  Thanks to GlobalGiving donors,  your modest heartfelt donations to Asia America Initiative [AAI] and with our partners in the pharmaceutical industry, we have made a major contribution to saving the lives of over 100 cancer and rare disease patients in the Philippines and joy to their grateful families. Today more thqan 100 new and ongoing patients are receiving treatment under the program. We started our partnership with GlobalGiving in 2011with a finite but challenging goal of saving  20 children and 30 women.  However, as a result of AAI's  Art of Hope and Healing program, backed by the National Cancer Coalition, KrebsAllianz and other American and European humanitarian medical organizations and medical companies, our Philippine Cancer Society partner in Manila has created a nationwide Cancer Patient Navigation program that is bringing healing care to hundreds of men, women and children stricken with all forms of the life threatening disease.  In April and May 2013 AAI is contributing Temodar chemotherapy medicine for at least 12 children with brain cancer,  Bicalutamide medicine for 100 men suffering from prostate cancer, funding for at least 6 women overcoming breast cancer to receive mandatory medical check-ups and support for their immune systems, and Cerezyme medicine to keep alive at least four children suffering from Gaucher disease, a rare, and eventually fatal inherited genetic disorder that  causes enlarged livers and spleens, anemia and bone deterioration. Cerezyme  is administered intravenously, is the only way by which medical doctors can save their lives.  However, the regimen required would cost more than $200,000 per year, which is unthinkable for most families in the United States and around the world.  In the Philippines, patients in the programs have family incomes of less than $100 dollars per month.  

AAI President and Arts of Hope and Healing Coordinator, Albert Santoli, is a liver cancer survivor that resulted from complications in the battlefield intravenous blood transfusion he received as a young soldier.  His commitment to never give up on life or  the Art of Hope and Healing Program, despite shortages of medicines and cash resources, has a soldier's dedication to saving the lives of those in the greatest need.  Even when medicines are hard to find, there still is so very much to be done in providing blood chemistry tests, nutritional support and assisting the coordination of transporting and distributing these increasingly rare life saving medicines. Mr. Santoli's counterpart at Philippine Cancer Society, Mr. Romy Mercaido is Patient Navigation Coordinator at the Philippine Cancer Society. His message to our wonderful friends and donors at Global Giving is, "We could not do this with out you. Maraming Salamat, Po. [Filipino language meaning, "Thank you so very much to everyone.]"

Together the kind-hearted pharmaceutical companies' executives, Asia America Initiative, National Cancer Coalition, KrebsAllianz, Philippine Cancer Society and our oncology doctors and nurses who provide the specialized care have their commitment fortified by treatment are continuing to build the capacity to expand our healing outreach.  Thanks to all of you!

 


Cancer Patient Support Group in Manila
Cancer Patient Support Group in Manila
AAI-PCS Chemo-therapy patient in Manila
AAI-PCS Chemo-therapy patient in Manila
Cancer patient screening by Phil Cancer Society
Cancer patient screening by Phil Cancer Society
cancer patient screening & mutual support
cancer patient screening & mutual support
Pauline, age 7, alive thanks to our donors
Pauline, age 7, alive thanks to our donors

Links:

Feb 27, 2013

Relief Missions Assist 20,000 persons in Davao

Distribution of Aid to village elders
Distribution of Aid to village elders

Asia America Initiative Emergency Flood Relief in

Davao, Mindanao,  December 24 through February 4, 2012/13

The devastating Typhoon Bopha or Pablo [as named locally] slammed into the Philippines in the mountains and along the coastline of the city of Davao in the Mindanao Region during the first week of December 2012. The storm severely  damaged  or destroyed thousands of homes and rendered more than 2 million people homeless.

Between December 24th and February 4, Asia America Initiative’s emergency medical team, led by Registered Nurses, Ralph Samson and Mariole Sumile,  joined with volunteers from the IPI Foundation of Cebu and Davao to conduct medical and emergency humanitarian support in some of the most devastated mountain and coastal areas.   They were accompanied by a team of IPI dentists and a group of Philippine soldiers who provided security.

Davao Oriental Healthcare Mission  On January 29, 2013 AAI Team arrived in Davao City, on a rainy night.  On the first day, they departed at around 9:00 a.m. on an 8 hour bus and truck ride to the mountainous mining town, Baganga.  Nurse Mariole Sumile recalls, “We passed some places where you can see former forests of coconut palm trees that were leveled. We were not sure if those trees were exclusively killed by the typhoon Pablo or also because of illegal logging.  Thousands of trees were broken down and it was heartbreaking to see the condition of the environment. It made me reflect how trees help sustain people and yet some people purposely destroy the environment…  Another heartbreaking situation was the destruction of  houses and schools… Buildings totally broken, only the bare structures remain.  Children now are having classes under a tent. Even some family homes are merely donated blue plastic to make tents. .. it may  take years to build these communities up again.”

 

Cateel, Davao Oriental: Another underserved municipality was reached by the AAI and IPI Foundation Teams, the Municipality of Cateel in Davao Oriental Province. Just like in the Municipality of Baganga which was visited on the first day, Relief Goods and Hygiene Kits were also distributed, including 5kgs of rice, canned goods, and other food supplies such as Soy Sauce and Oil. Hygiene kits, these contain some of IPI’s donated products such as Bioderm Soap, Zip Mosquito Repellent, Omega Pain Killer Ointment, Efficacent Oil and among others. For women of reproductive age, AAI and IPI also distributed sanitary pads for their monthly menstrual cycle. There were 1,500 family hygiene kits distributed in Cateel which provided aid to approximately 6,000 people.

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office XI, a total of 8,566 houses were totally damaged in the Cateel area, while 645 houses were partially damaged. There were also 10,240 families affected and another 29,938 individuals. Several food packs were distributed by the different Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Humanitarian Relief Teams but were used up very quickly. The World Food Program also brought sacks of rice in the area to augment the scarcity of food and to serve as their supply for several months until the people are established. At present, most of the people are asking AAI and IPI Foundation more about health needs such as medicines for cough and colds, Paracetamol for fever and headache, pain reliever and basic wound care for wounded survivors, antibiotics for wound treatment and healing, anti-asthma and allergy for children and special age, anti-diarrheal and anti-parasitic for most of the children, water purifiers for unsafe drinking water.  In addition, medical check-up and consultation from physicians are in short supply.  Medicines for hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases are essential and badly needed because of the stress and unsafe consitions they have experienced that triggered their illnesses.

Electricity was not yet restored and repaired, thus, all of the Municipal Transactions and Humanitarian Relief Teams are relying on solar energy panels and generators as sources of electricity to continue the basic transaction and services to the people. However, it’s costly all networks are still fluctuating and unstable. Similarly, internet connections are inconsistent and slow. Wrecked roads and destroyed bridges are still under repair and construction, making it more difficult for all Non-Government Organizations (NGO) and Humanitarian Relief Teams to reach the area since they need to re-route taking almost 10 hours to travel from Davao City to Davao Oriental via Agusan del Sur. 

Besides their homes destroyed and life savings vanquished, People’s livelihood is also affected, which makes people feel hopeless and desperate. The primary sources of income in Cateel are “Copra” (a coconut used to make oil and sold to big markets and manufacturers), Rice Farming, Banana Plantations, and Fishing. However, with the devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo, 95% of the coconut trees were uprooted and destroyed while 5% are still entrenched but leaves and trunks are shattered. This makes it more difficult and problematic for rehabilitation since coconut trees take years to grow and bear fruit. Rice farming is also impossible due to unstable and unfavorable weather condition everyday.  Similarly, fishing cannot be conducted because of huge waves along  the coastal lines caused by unstable sea and weather conditions.

Jade Valley, Davao City, was greatly affected by the wrath of Typhoon Pablo. Continuous rain caused overflowing of the Davao River and flash floods in some areas of Jade Valley on January 21, 2013, just before the AAI – IPI team arrived there. Residents of the community described the level of water in the area was 3 meters deep causing some of the houses to sink and to submerge up to the second floor.

Due to the crisis situation, the AAI and IPI Foundation tried our best to respond to the needs of the residents of Jade Valley, Davao City. Through the help and support of generous partners and our extended donor community through Global Giving, In Jade Valley, we distributed 700 family relief packs and hygiene kits to the residents of Jade Valley to support some 3,000 persons for at least one week. Aside from the relief goods and hygiene kits, the AAI and IPI Foundation rendered free blood pressure and dental check-ups and performed dental surgeries. It was heartbreaking for the AAI team to depart the area with so much still needed to be done. However, the people of Jade Valley were very thankful to AAI, IPI Foundation and our international  partners for their generous help and aid support.   

In Baganga, a  village elder and retired coconut farmer, 74 year old Grandpa JoJo spoke for his community:  “From the bottom of our hearts we thank our new friends from Asia America Initiative and all those people who sent support for us through Global Giving.  We will never forget you.”

Attached is a List of Relief Goods distributed in the Davao area by Asia America Initiative

 

 

Devastated towns litter landscape of Davao area
Devastated towns litter landscape of Davao area
Trucks filled with supplies aid villagers
Trucks filled with supplies aid villagers

Links:


Attachments:
Feb 19, 2013

The Wheel Chair Miracle: Paul's Story

Paul  and his mother with his new wheelchair
Paul and his mother with his new wheelchair

 

The Art of Hope and Healing program for cancer victims was created in 2008 by Asia America Initiative and the US-based National Cancer Coalition in Manila, Philippines. In partnership with public hospitals, our goal is to extend our peace building in communities plagued by insufferable poverty and armed conflict between people of various religions and cultural groups.  We act as models of unity and compassion by our inter-faith teams serving the poorest of the poor. We began the Art of Hope program with a target of 30 women with breast cancer and 20 children with various cancers including leukemia and lymphoma. But since becoming involved with Global Giving our services have grown -- thanks in large part to Global Giving donors --  to serve over 100 additional children with blood disorders, such as hemophilia and rare genetic illnesses such as Pompe Disease.  Cancer treatment medicines from pharmaceutical companies have been more and more difficult for all NGO's to obtain and highly expensive to procure.  However, we have found other important ways to help heal our beneficiary women and children.  Our message is: EVERY HUMAN LIFE MATTERS. More than 100 women and children have received the gift of life.

11 year old Paul* [first name only to protect privacy of a minor] suffers from the bleeding illness hemophilia. He cannot walk but he is an honor student and a local champion of the game of chess.  His family of six live in a one room shack in an overcrowded neighborhood in Rosario, Cavite just outside of Manila, the swarming capitol of the Philippines.   Everyday his father, a humble construction laborer, must bicycle and carry Paul one kilometer to and from school. For the family, their greatest wish was a wheel chair for Paul.  That would be a small miracle, far beyond their family budget.

Just before Christmas 2012 their wish came true when AAI nurse Mariole Sumile and program assistant brought Paul a handcrafted all-terrain wheel chair provided by the One World Institute of California. It was a total surprise for his family and all of their neighbors.

The joy that Paul and his family felt upon receiving the wheel chair was beyond words. With the help of the wheel chair, Paul can now do small things like visit friends and travel to school each day without asking assistance. Paul is now one step closer in achieving his dreams of eventually becoming a graphic artist.

With tears in his eyes, Paul sent a message on video to children around the world who also face physical challenges due to illness: "You should not lose hope because of illness, because for me hemophilia is not a hindrance.  Instead it’s just a challenge to be stronger in my life. We should not let other kids tease people like us because we are also normal. We might have differences in our physical appearance, but we are also the same as people everywhere."  [See the "Art of Hope and Healing" video attached to this written report].


 

Paul outside his family
Paul outside his family's humble one-room shack
Paul and his parents
Paul and his parents
Paul and his family with AAI team in their home
Paul and his family with AAI team in their home
Paul with AAI staff member Bernadette Fenandez
Paul with AAI staff member Bernadette Fenandez

Links:

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