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.
Nov 5, 2015

Community Empowerment for Typhoon Survivors

AAI programs  emphasize nutrition and hygiene
AAI programs emphasize nutrition and hygiene
"Deeds rather than Words" and "Empowerment Rather Than Charity"  are among the most important lessons we have learned from our Asia America Initiative relief campaigns  in the post-Typhoon Haiyan areas of the Philippines.  We have been consistent in our actions during the two years of assisting communities that were devastated by Haiyan and numerous other typhoons, floods, earthquakes  --  as well as intensive poverty, hunger and violent civil conflict.  We believe the never-give-up attitude of our Filipino communities, whether Christian, Muslim or mountain tribes are joyful examples of how natural or man-made disasters that cause the suffering of millions of people can be mitigated though teamwork and positive attitudes.  Simply stated: Partnerships work.
In the words of Arlyn P. a sixth grader at Catig-Lacadon Elementary School in Duenas, Iloilo:  "Dear AAI and Prof. Santoli:  Thank you for giving many books, school supplies, rubber sandals and seeds for our garden. Our Moms and Dads are always helping our school too.  Many children here are very happy because in the afternoon we can go to the school library and read the books you gave. God love you and your family. Truly yours, ARLYN.
Nurse Faith dela Torre, AAI's program coordinator in westen Visayas reports, "In our ten elementary schools in Duenas and Cuartero, Capiz the parents are conducting Christmas carolling and other events to raise proceeds for the construction of temporary and permanent classrooms.  The classrooms are made of bamboo and the parents work with their hands to finish the buildings, which still have no roofs. After Typhoon Haiyan they put up plastic or cloth tents as their roofs, but recent storms have destroyed the makeshift roofs again. Only a year ago, when we started the daily feeding programs based on school gardens and Moms volunteering to cook healthy lunches at the schools, the childen were mostly suffering malnutrition. Today almost 90 percent have gained wieight and attend school every day, thanks to AAI and the parents and teachers all working together to assist the children." 
Your support helps AAI to develop grass-roots programs, modeled in the Philippines, that demonstrate how people of good will can work across cultures and religions to revitalize communities through teamwork and trust.
Please remember that fon Thursday November 5th, from 8 pm Eastern Time [5 pm West Coast time] time until midninight, Global Giving will double your donations for this typhoon relief program. Every contribution matters.  Much appreciated. 

 

Links:

Oct 20, 2015

Learning from Failure: Adapting to Opportunity

Building faith for recovery thru loving care
Building faith for recovery thru loving care

LEANING FROM FAILURE: ADAPTING TO OPPOTUNITY.  One of the most fulfilling results of the Asia America Initiave Program to support children with cancer and life threatening diseases in the Philippines is how we have become more effective with modest funds and now support four times the original number of childen. The roots of our success were motivated by the fear of impending failure. Since 2011, with the help of Global Giving donors we have aided the recovery of 49 out of 50 women and children who struggled in dire poverty to be healed from cancer by helping to provide medicines and art supplies to instill a positive attitude foir recovery.

The program:suddenly changed in 2013 when all charitable organizations dedicated to fighting lymphoma and leukenmia could not find donations of medicines. We  were still assisting  ten childen who were born with terminal rare genetic illnesses. if they do not receive monthly genetic replacement medical injections they will perish. And due to local bureaucratic and corruption issues the genetic medicines were becoming harder to get past the Customs "brokers." and kickbacks can be a major obstacle. We were crushed with the fear of impending failure which could lead to the death of some wonderful and hopeful kids. 

For the sake of these children, my staff and I were determined not to fail.. even if we didn't know what we could do.  Giving up was not an option. In my own experience as a cancer and life-threatening immune disease survivor I had endured emergency surgery, a stroke and a broken artery, . I was not expected by some doctors to live past 2009.  But the angels of health had other ideas, in part because I loved these cancer and rare diseases stricken kids who depended on my survival.  I also had the benefit of understanding that in order to recover, a patient needs strong faith and effective chemo-therapy along with proper nutrition and a positive attitude. Feeling  love from family and friends is also essential.  So we created a new plan of action and tried to find where WE were failing. We had to calmly evaluate and take advantage of what would be possible to save these childen.  Being angry or feeling sorry for ourselves was not allowed.  Instead, we created an action plan: 

Partners:  We were inspired by being accepted into the Global Giving community.  Some longstanding donors had left us because they thought I was "dead man walking,"  Global Giving showed me that good hearted ordinary people would support us with modest donations to compensate for the loss of larger grants. Yes, it was more work to prepare donor campaigns, but the resulting generosity was worth the effort. And we always ask our program partners for their inputs and lessons learned.

Alernative Health Resources: We placed a heavier emphasis on vitamin supplements and nutritional support that would counter the effects of chemotherapy and strengthen young bodies' reistance to fight back against disease.  In addition, we used  Global Gioving donations to buy emergency medicines and pay for blood tests.  And we reached out to willing partners to supplement medicines that we could not find.  Humility and Egolessness is key -- share the credit and publicity.

Don't Be Shy to Reach Out:  To overcome issues of corruption and bureaucratic obstinacy, we reached out to influential private and government sector officials to help us cut through "red tape." To recover from terminal illness requires low stress, thus I learned the "humanitarian ninja" techiniques of how to fight without anger and transform heavy emotion into positive energetic efforts in defense of our beneficiaries.  This positive attitude attracted powerful officials to respect and assist our efforts.

In addition, we developed private - public partnership with wonderful doctors, caretakers and pharmaceutical wholeslers and retailers to stretch every dollar contributed by our Global Giving family of donors.  There is no such thing as "too small" a donation if it is budgeted properly. We always tell the kids that they have many people who they have never met who love them and value their lives --  all ten of the original rare disease children from 2009 are still alive and growing strong.  We now are helping our partner Philippine Society of Orphan Disorders and the governmental National Institutes of Health to provide monthly nutrition and medical supplies for more than 200 children each month. Sometimes we have to accept there are situations that we  can't control or change.  However, it is also true that sometimes small miracles can happen.  

Special children with their Grandma at PSOD
Special children with their Grandma at PSOD
why we can
why we can't give up
Art therapy
Art therapy
AAI  monthly nutrition supplements
AAI monthly nutrition supplements
Special child with AAI nutritional supplements
Special child with AAI nutritional supplements

Links:

Oct 5, 2015

Standing for Peace Without Prejudice or Fear

Angels on Parade in Indanan
Angels on Parade in Indanan

 

In life we find that sometimes communities or individuals who seem to have no chance to succeed because of an impoverished or life-threatening environment end up doing incredible achievements.  The southern Philippines is such a place, especially in Duenas, Visayas where landless farm laborers were devastated by a Noah’s Ark type of typhoon in 2013 which destroyed many homes and schools.   In Visayas region, tens of thousands of families remain without adequate homes. Malnutrition is rampant among children who attend schools where the classroom chairs and roofs, sanitation and textbooks were largely destroyed. Today, governmental support is scarce and most foreign charity groups have already departed. Fortunately, Asia America Initiative values hard-working partnership above sympathy. 

In southwest Muslim areas of Mindanao, there is an ongoing prevalence of armed conflict and shootouts between the army and kidnap gangs and feared meth-amphetamine dealers supplied by the Chinese military and local criminal gangs creates a climate of fear.  Sulu Province is rated by the United Nation and Philippine government as the most underdeveloped area of the Philippines and at the bottom of the international human development index.  Despite the very real jeopardy, Christians such as the priests, brothers and nuns at Notre Dame College and the inter-faith Asia America Initiative are considered as partners in development by most Sulu Muslims. 

The schools are our neutral “peace” zones and form the basis of our ‘Youth Spark” campaign to unite Christians and Muslims through education.  Thanks to Global Giving donors and some matching from Microsoft we consistently help feed and provide clean water to more than 30,000 children combined in the Duenas area of Visayas and the Sulu area of Mindanao.  We are eliminating malnutrition and helping to reduce disease through clean water programs.

In August-September 2015, I made a working visit to both regions to conduct unity and oversite activities and to touch base with my dear friends, no matter their religion or language.  The night before I traveled to Sulu, a schoolteacher called and had me listen to the very clear sound of artillery explosions not far from her home.  She asked, “Are you sure you want to come here now?” I responded, “If a friend is not with his friends when times are difficult, then how can any of us stand against the darkness.”

Please see the attached pictures which speak thousands of words about my visit and our progress based in full community partnership with teachers and parents. Last week all 11 elementary schools in Indanan district, which is among the most feared due to kidnap gangs and some armed extremists, stood up against the darkness by conducting a three-day outdoor music, dance, academic and sports festival.  They defied evil through the joy of learning and performing positive competitions.  AAI receives no support from any government at this time.  None of this could be done without the support of our extended community of donors. 

Rural Timbangan Elementary School, is one of AAI’s 20  Models of Excellence schools in Sulu Province.  After a morning-long library and school textbook distribution, I boarded the crowded mid-day ferry boat for the 5 hour ride on the Sulu-Celebes Sea to Zamboanga.  A delegation of school principals, teachers and nurses extended their Salams and other statements of friendship.

As I boarded on the wobbly wooden plank, carrying a bag full of fresh tropical fruits, I was handed a heartfelt thank you card from Head Nurse Jubalya Damlan of Timbangan Elementary.  “You are angels that answered our prayers,” she wrote.   “The needs of our school children are now in reach thanks to you.  We believe our dreams for them nearly may be coming true because of your support.   We will never forget you throughout our lives.  Thank you so much!!"

Majorettes for peace and unity, Indanan
Majorettes for peace and unity, Indanan
School officials & Elementary principals march
School officials & Elementary principals march
Moms pushing decorative floats with their children
Moms pushing decorative floats with their children
Moms cook lunch at Sheikh Mustafa Elementary
Moms cook lunch at Sheikh Mustafa Elementary
overcoming malnutrition w/ home cooking in schools
overcoming malnutrition w/ home cooking in schools
School hygiene with support from AAI and community
School hygiene with support from AAI and community
walking the robot  in culture and sports parade
walking the robot in culture and sports parade
AAI books and school supplies for Sulu schools
AAI books and school supplies for Sulu schools
School garden assists daily school feeding program
School garden assists daily school feeding program
thank you note from Grade 4 student in Duenas
thank you note from Grade 4 student in Duenas

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $15
    give
  • $20
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $30
    give
  • $35
    give
  • $40
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $15
    each month
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $35
    each month
    give
  • $40
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Asia America Initiative

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Asia America Initiative on GreatNonProfits.org.