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.
Mar 21, 2017

Love is Magic for Children Healing from Cancer

Thanks to Global Giving donors, a second Christmas 2017 micoproject enabled Asia America initiative to provide a joyful party for more than 50 impoverished children undergoing cancer treatment at House of Hope in Davao, Philippines. This is the only pediatric center in the Mindanao region where more than 3,000 children undergo cancer treatment.  A surprise party was hosted by volunteers from Asia America Initiative, One World Institute, Always Spread Kindness (ASK), a group of young professional volunteers and other private citizens to distribute stuffed animals and other toys, coloring books and crayons.  In addition, entertainment was provided by talented local entertainers who volunteered their time and music. The laughter and shouts of the children receiving stuffed animals could be heard throughout the neighborhood.

A wonderful chicken meal was served.  More than 50 stuffed animals purchased with AAI funds through the generosity of Global Giving community of donors were handed to the children by the youth volunteers. . The children, some bald from chemotherapy, others with plastic. I.V. tubes in their arms, were beaming with joy.  Some challenged their greatest fears with magical glowing "Star Wars" light sabres, as they raced around the recreation center with huge glowing smiles from ear to ear.

As in the Christmas eve party provided bvy Asia America Initiative and partners, for many of these children undergoing difficult chemotherapy and other treatments, these gifts would be the first toys they ever owned.  Significantly, their new soft and cuddly "best friends" provide confidence and comfort in the midst of thechildren's sometimes scary treatment and struggle for survival. 

“How could we not cry with emotions,” volunteer coordinator Mr. Pidot reflected.  “This additional  act of kindness by people from around the world showed these children and their parents that they are surrounded with love.  Their hearts are now filled with hope.

"May God bless all of our amazing donors.  Your invaluable love is truly felt by all of these children."

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Mar 20, 2017

Water, Garden and Joy of Life at Bunot Elementary

Watering garden with fresh water at Bunot ES
Watering garden with fresh water at Bunot ES
The United Nations rates Mindanao Region, Philippines near the bottom of the global Human Development Index. However, most of the people are admirable human beings. Our Microproject which was successfully funded in Jolo, Sulu -- an area where life is seldom easy -- helped to pay for a 500 gallon water tank, wash basins and garden irrigation to improve the health, hunger and hygiene at Bunot Elementary school, with a student population of close to 200 children.  The $650 donated through our Global Giving partners was a wonderful gift in an area where the people have known very little hope and happiness for close to fifty years.  
In many communities, most schools lack any type of clean water, washing systems and hygiene materials. Children miss school or perform poorly because of parasites and illnesses. In addition, the survival difficulties of residents are a cause of civil war and communal unrest. It is also an area where international terror groups such as ISIS reputedly seeks to recruit desperate young people.
We addressed these challenges by taking life's challenges on head-on as a community-based effort. We purchased cost-effective sturdy 500 gallon plastic water tanks, rainwater catchment devices and rubber pipes, and a wash basin.  Community volunteers constructed water supply systems to improve the health and study habits of 200 children. The clean water tanks and irrigation hoses enabled school gardens to reduce hunger. As in all AAI programs, we emphasize students to have hope for a better future and resist the lure of local troublemakers or other violent groups.  
"The excitement of the new water tanks, the beautiful gardens and everyday feeding is felt by every child at Bunot Elementary and by their parents," says school Principal Jurmainna. "Their smiles show a willingness to participate and to welcome AAI model school programs into their daily lives."
The impact of this effort is unimaginable to communities who had never inerracted with outsiders.  Our "Manificent 17" donors who collectively contributed the full $625 goal of this Global Giving micro-project are true heroes and friends to the people of Indanan. In the long-term, this program empowers Christian and Muslim communities to learn from each other through their respective best practices. Demonstrating friendship with all cultural groups, we dispel fear and hatred that alienates communities who feel alone and abandoned.
Our new program with Global Giving expands the number of children to 500 in schools deeper into areas of armed conflict.  Each child assisted is a catalyst for peace and a symbol of hope.  Thank you again for your generosity. 
Products of Bunot ES School Garden
Products of Bunot ES School Garden
Expansive garden at Bunot Elementary
Expansive garden at Bunot Elementary
Handwash poster at Bunot Elementary
Handwash poster at Bunot Elementary
Moms making soup with fresh water at Bunot ES
Moms making soup with fresh water at Bunot ES
Fresh water tank at Bunot school kitchen
Fresh water tank at Bunot school kitchen
Everyone eats lunch at Bunot Elementary
Everyone eats lunch at Bunot Elementary

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Mar 13, 2017

Key to Disaster Recovery: Believe in Yourself

School Lunch Program cooked by Moms in Cuartero
School Lunch Program cooked by Moms in Cuartero

 "People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success."   --  Norman Vincent Peale

"We have risen from the depths of despair," says Principal Luz, at Cuartero Central Elementary School, in an area devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.  "The key to recovery has been the entire community working together with the support of our friends at Asia America Initiative. They convinced teachers and parents that even when government funds were scarce that we could find a way to rebuild our lives through our own faith, sweat and partnership."

The devastation caused by Haiyan affected millions of families in thousands of communities across the central Philippines region of Visayas.  Asia America Initiative was on the scene from November 2013, when the super-storm crushed the region with 200 mile-per-hour winds and tidal wave surges of up to 30 feet high, which crushed everything in its path.  AAI Director Albert Santoli says.  “We began forming partnerships with NGOs, government organizations and private citizens – including high school and college students.  After around four months of distributing food, water and shelter and medicines, we began the long-term rebuilding process.  While other outside groups spent their donations and departed, AAI has carefully budgeted funds and created trust with local officials and parents at public schools to carry the rebuilding forward into our 4th year of consistent hard work….  It has been high spirited and great fun, too. We believe in each other.”

The central program that has empowered the children is the “Moms to the Rescue” daily school lunch program. For less than 50 cents a day, AAI and parents have purchased enough food for big pots of soups and stews cooked on open fires at the schools by Moms, Dads and Grandmoms.  Serving is done by teachers.  No child is excluded.  Ist grade teacher Nelz at Maindang Elementary School reflects, “When the storm happened we were in shock and didn’t know how our school and community of poor farm workers could recover.  But Director Santoli and AAI’s assistance has only required that we try our best and do our part to help ourselves. In the manner that AAi never gives up and believes in us, that has inspired everyone. A positive attitude has made believers out of all of us.”

In a world overwhelmed with new natural and man-made disasters every week, tightly-budgeted mutual assistance is imperative.  “The ongoing blood, sweat and tears of rebuilding in our typhoon-recovery communities could not have happened without Global Giving and our GG donor partners,”  says Asia America Initiative Visayas Coordinator, Nurse Faith: “Every time we have almost run out of funds, our donor partners come to the rescue.  We could not have done this without Global Giving’s campaigns and support and most importantly the inner-belief and hard work of the local Visayas communities.  It is impossible to put our gratitude into words.”

Lunch is served at Maindang Elementary School
Lunch is served at Maindang Elementary School
Eating lunch in classroom as a family
Eating lunch in classroom as a family
Nutrition and Good Health = Improved Academics
Nutrition and Good Health = Improved Academics
Community pride in schools = children feel loved
Community pride in schools = children feel loved
Tastes so good!!
Tastes so good!!

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