Support 40 Typhoon Survivors Finish College

 
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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:

Feb 10, 2014

Revitalizing Schools and Building Fishing Boats

school children in Borongan, Samar
school children in Borongan, Samar

During the past six months the Philippines has been ravaged by natural disasters and armed conflicts.  The suffering began in September 2013 when fighting in Zamboanga City in the Mindnao region between governmental security forces and Muslim guerillas resulted in burned out neighborhoods and thousands of reugees.  That was followed by a massive earthquake in Bohol and in November the cataclysmic Typhoon Haiyan [Yolanda] ripped the Visayas region.

Asia America Initiative has conducted a Development for Peace program in the Mindanao and Visayas regions for more than ten years. During the new crisis period we responded with support from Global Giving donors.  We have helped to transport and distribute more than $12 million dollars of emergency aid, food and clean water into devastated areas.  But we have maintained our mission focus on building peace which is interchangable with development.  The central components of our process are to empower communities through education and livelihood opportunities.  We emphasize the need to overcome poverty, injustice and despair.  Maindang  Elementary and High Schools in Batad, Iloilo which were severly damaged in the typhoon are our models.  

The Philippines is comprised of more than 7,000 islands of all shapes and sizes.  The AAI "Education and Entrepreneurshipm for Peace" effort is focusing on fishing as a staple for grassroots employment and self-sufficiency. Experienced fishermen are being provided the materials to build boats and to teach that craft to their sons and grand sons.  Boys and girls are being supported to enhance their education through school libraries, even in communities where the public schools have been devastated or demolished by powerful wind, floods and gunfights.  During the first few months of the Education and Entrepreneurship for Peace program, incoming funds have been limited.  However, AAI has leveraged funds from Global Giving to pay for the cost of organizing and distributing 67,000 textbooks donated by partner NGOs in California.  The value of the two 40-foot containers of  educational reading m aterials that serve chldren and youth from pre-school to college, is more than $1 million dollars.  In addition, AAI and our partners from One World Institute and the International Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Foundation are assisted the rebuilding and revitalizing of selected public elementary and high schools in the Visayas region.  In Sulu,  to overcome violent crime and poverty, AAI has adopted the 3,000 student Hadjibutu High School of Trade and Arts to promote vocation and traditional craftmanship, as well as mechanics, boatbuilding and other means of earning a living.  The school is currently falling apart, with no books, or even chalkboard, few desks or chairs and tools that date back to World War I.  We have made Hadjibutu HS the first priority for the Library Hub program in the Muslim Autonomous Region of Mindanao. 

Recent reports of child trafficking and child soldiers in the devastated areas of the Philippines have been heartbreaking. We cannot accept that type of human degradation.  We are countering with educational and livelihood support.   Principal Lulu Mayo of Maindang Elementary School in Cuartero village of Capiz District in Visayas told AAI:  "The revitalization of our schools is the heart of the recovery for our entire community.  Your programs encourage people not to give up. We are all uplifted because our 1,200 child scholars will have a future and that proves we have not been forgotten."  

Backed by our extended donor community of Global Giving, the partnership teams of AAI, OWI and IPI Foundation are happy to do our part to turn Hope into true Action.  We have deep appreciation for our donors.  May God bless you all.

Lourdes Damazo with school child in Borongan
Lourdes Damazo with school child in Borongan
Maidang Elementary in Batad damaged by typhoon
Maidang Elementary in Batad damaged by typhoon
residents of Samar and Panay survive in ruins
residents of Samar and Panay survive in ruins
Boat building craftsman creates fishing craft
Boat building craftsman creates fishing craft
first pallet of school textbooks arrive
first pallet of school textbooks arrive
AAI Director Santoli at Jolo, Sulu Vocational  HS
AAI Director Santoli at Jolo, Sulu Vocational HS

Links:

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Project Leader

Albert Santoli

Washington, DC United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Support 40 Typhoon Survivors Finish College