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.
Aug 17, 2016

Toys for 4,000 child cancer patients in Davao

Jedi Knight cancer patient with Mom, House of Hope
Jedi Knight cancer patient with Mom, House of Hope

First time visitors to House of Hope in the garden city of Davao  in the southern Philippines have difficulty holding back their tears. Located in the Mindanao region of some 24 million people -- Christians, Muslims and mountain tribal groups --it is the only such medical facility that can provide healing care to children afflicted with various types of cancer.  Each week the overcrowded facility alternates treatment groups of 300 child patients and their families.  The current patient load undergoing chemotherapy and other forms of treatment is over 4,000 patients.  It is a healing center built on great love and near super-human dedication of a handful of qualified medical specialists. But conditions can be devastating, with patients and their families sleeping on the outside grounds and the floor of general activity rooms and the actual wards where children are hooked up to intravenous tubes stuffed in 100 degree [F] heat covered with exhausted bodies. 

High school and college volunteers try to bring food so parents who have spent all available funds to travel to Davao have at least a little something to eat.  When our colleagues, Dr. Yolanda Stern and Pidot Villocino at One World Institute told Asia America Initiative of this situation, it felt like a mule’s kick to our gut.  Even though our budget is stretched beyond thin due to nutritional care we are providing to the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders in Manila and raising funds to help “Baby Brielle” get a life- saving liver transplant surgery in Taiwan.  All the while we are trying to stop ISIS recruitment and terror  in southern Mindanao by improving education and livelihood.  But we could not say, “No.”  We have used professional skills learned in Global Giving's Spring and Summer webinars to prioritize, budget and intensify our fundraising programs via social media. 

As a result, we have already provided comforting stuffed toy animals for over 200 cancer patients…  we are now raising funds for one toy for each of the 4,000 patients, all of whom live in dire poverty.  Toys cost around $2 or 90 pesos per piece in local markets. In addition, an incredible coalition of small-town churches who partner with AAI in the Pennsylvania-Maryland and West Virginia area of the United States is donating large boxes of toys that will cost around $2,300 to ship from Virginia to Davao. Our goal is to assure each child has a comforting toy to assist in their healing before Christmas season begins. 

Speaking from the Children’s Cancer and Blood Disease Unit at the hospital next door to House of Hope, Pidot Villocino of OWI, who also monitors activities for AAI, says, “First time visitors to House of Hope cannot hold back their tears.  300 kids cycle through treatment here each week. The isolation ward in the Children’s Wing is full.  The operating rooms are always full.  Thank God for our teen volunteers who drop in to bring food paid for by their own allowances from their parents.  They also unwrap little cooking sets for patients’ families and coloring books, crayons, toy trucks and stuffed cuddly animals provided by AAI and their USA donors.”

“It is our hope that the stuffed animals can, somehow, ease the pain these kids are going through….  Every time I tag along on these visits, I think, ‘Who am I to complain?’  Thank you Asia America Initiative, your donors and all those people who send their prayers.”

toys and arts for cancer patients House of Hope
toys and arts for cancer patients House of Hope
volunteer visiting child patients, House of Hope
volunteer visiting child patients, House of Hope
Child in chemotherapy resting with toys
Child in chemotherapy resting with toys
Happiness is a purple stuffed monkey
Happiness is a purple stuffed monkey
crowded cancer treatment ward at House of Hope
crowded cancer treatment ward at House of Hope
Help us revitalize decor at House of Hope
Help us revitalize decor at House of Hope
Teen volunteers at House of Hope, Davao
Teen volunteers at House of Hope, Davao

Links:

Jul 19, 2016

Good Food = Happy Children & Great Schools

Maindang Elementary:  Healthy Food/ Clean Water
Maindang Elementary: Healthy Food/ Clean Water

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 Typhoon Haiyan. In both regions, few schools have books, clean water, adequate nutrition and lack basic tools for livelihood training. Asia America Initiative works in both provinces with a special emphasis on nutrition and clean water, no matter if a child is Christian or Muslim. We are a model building bridges through positive action at community level.

This program is began by assisting 1,000 children in two elementary schools in Sulu and in Visayas.  We overcome extreme poverty and communal violence, through integrated literacy, livelihood skills, and health support. We have created a social media network for Muslim and Christian educators and children to share their new skills, hopes, and dreams. Mothers and fathers of pupils will assist teachers to cook daily meals. We will provide school supplies, garden tools, seeds, and pipes for fresh water.  When necessary, AAI staff rolls up our sleeves and works the land and plants seeds of fresh food and hope alongside our beneficiaries -- who are also our friends.

The long-term positive impact of this program empowers Christian and Muslim communities to learn from each other through their respective best practices. Asia America Initiative serves as a communication bridge. Our social media networks facilitate transparent communication and dispel fear and myths that alienate communities who feel alone and abandoned. The program has been expanded from 2 to 4 elementary schools with a total population of nearly 2,000 children.  

"We are receiving requests from many additional schools," states Nurse Shareen Mariwa, Head Nurse of the Department Education in Sulu, Muslim Mindanao. "We need to extend our partnership programs as we have already met our early goals last year. This is because of the confidence community leaders and parents have that there is more help coming from the AAI through your friendship.  No matter our homelands and language, we work best when it is for the interest of others.  The success of our schools and wellbeing of the children are the results."

We extend deep gratitude to GlobalGiving and our donor community.

Happy Kids at Maindang Elementary
Happy Kids at Maindang Elementary
Mom
Mom's volunteer to make the best meals
School Garden at Angub Elementary
School Garden at Angub Elementary
Principal Luz, Teachers and Moms cook school lunch
Principal Luz, Teachers and Moms cook school lunch
Best meal of day for Angub ES kids made by Moms
Best meal of day for Angub ES kids made by Moms
Rainwater Tank at Poblacion ES, Muslim Mindanao
Rainwater Tank at Poblacion ES, Muslim Mindanao
Well fed Chess players at Pasil Elementary
Well fed Chess players at Pasil Elementary

Links:

Jun 24, 2016

Sustained Typhoon Relief: Charity to Self-Reliance

Children enjoy school lunch in Cuartero
Children enjoy school lunch in Cuartero

The 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is considered the most devasting storm in recorded history. Some 9 million people were rendered homeless and hundreds of schools and clean water systems were destroyed. As we approach the third annivertsary, many communities and schools are still in recovery. Many international organizations intervened with million of dollars worth of emergency aid, but today only a few outsiders remain on-site and continue to assist the rebuilding of broken lives. Asia America Initiative learned valuable lessons about supporting a transition from charity to self-reliance at the community level as the key to sustainable development. This has been made possible by the generoisty provided by our many private Global Giving donors and a small number of non-governmental foundations. 

The emphasis of Asia America Initiative has been to support clean water systems and vegetable gardens, utilizing public schools as non-partisan community centers. Our goal, with the input from community leaders is to make a transition from emergency relief to self-reliance based on local enterprise and volunteerism within a 4 year period [Christmas Season 2014].  "Our community never expected such generosity and has truly appreciated the loyalty and substantial improvements in the eduction and health conditions of our children," says Principal Luz Roxas Mayo of Angub Elementary School in the rural hillside farning community of Cuartero, Capiz that was heavily damaged by the super typhoon.  

The new 2016-17 school year began in mid-June. Already at least 10 schools with more than 2,000 student kindergarden to elementary students have benefitted from AAI's partnership with Moms and Dads in Parent-Teachers Associations who are assisted by teachers and pupils to grow and cook nutritious lunches each day of the week on school grounds. Malnutrition has dropped from close to 35 percent of all students down to around 5 percent. Each school now has a water tank and wash basins to provide for adequate sanitation. The quality of drinking water has dramatically improved, reducing water-borne and mosquito related illnesses. AAI and our donor-partners are viewed as reliable friends while communities re-establish farming and fishing as means of livelihood and basic sustenance. "The parents really cooperate," says Principal Rowena Ortizo at Catig-Lacadon Elementary school, "Because they know their kids like to go to school to enjoy their delicious lunch.... From the bottom of our hearts, the kids wish you and your partners' families many blessings."

School Garden Angub Elementary School
School Garden Angub Elementary School
A happy meal at Angub Elementary School
A happy meal at Angub Elementary School

Links:

 
   

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