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May 3, 2019

School Lunches in Rural Areas Keep Girls in School

Asia America Initiative's [AAI]] school-based meal assistance program has given parents in the areas we serve a good reason to  keep their children in school every day. Volunteer parents and teachers prepare the food for the students and serve on school grounds at lunchtime, using clean water with fresh water systems on school grounds funded by AAI for hand washing and making nutritious soups and rice meals. This is especially helpful to keep girls in school for the full day. In the past, If they walked home for lunch, often they would end up participating in  myriad household chores required for family survival in rural areas with no running water, marginal hygiene and and the most basic of living conditions.  If they attend school every day, all day, the test scores of the majority of pupils suffering from malnutrition do improve.  The food and clean water strengthen the bodies and minds of children to keep up with a full day of learning, while resisting tropical water-borne diseases. They also receive the full benefit of education offered by grateful teachers and actively supported by parents.

"The parents are exceptionally grateful for the daily feeding program of AAI and the local public schools in Sulu," says Principal Merhama of Salih Yusah Elementary. " We teachers and school administrators could not succeed without a full and enthusiastic partnership with our entire school as a family.  The children are full of energy all day, with much less illness.  And we also have noticed better behavior between the children with less fighting and arguing as occurs when they are tired and hungry. The beauty of the program is that every child, no matter their social or economic status, is treated with equal care."

Poverty, hunger, communal violence and limited public health plague Muslim Mindanao, Philippines. Sulu Province remains near the bottom of the UN's Human Development Index. A school-aged population of some 350,000 impoverished children -- more than half girls and 12 percent of the population are Christian -- lack clean water. Worldwide, female students are most affected in similar schools.

Learning from our ongoing experiences in the typhoon plagued areas of the central Philippines, in the Southern areas AAI assists more than 40 elementary schools with a total of 10,000 girls and an equal number of boys.  In addition to purchasing 50 pound sacks of rice per week and growing vegetables in school gardens we help to build clean water systems, WASH facilities and adequate nutrition through school lunches cooked by volunteer mothers. Conflict between Muslims and Christians is heightened due to poverty. With improved water access at each school, we encourage school-based gardens to provide fresh foods and delicious vegetable and chicken soup. Soap for handwashing improves the children's health for better classroom performance.

For clarity of programs assisted by our Global Giving donor community, we have decided to combine this project with a similar project  to maintain and expand the number of students and schools we serve. Here is the link to our singular project for any future donations to this program that you may like to share:

Clean Water, WASH & Nutrition for 500 Muslim Girls

Thank you for your support,

Albert Santoli,

Director

rain water catchment tank at Malawm Elementary
rain water catchment tank at Malawm Elementary

Links:

May 1, 2019

Toys Bring Happiness to Children at House of Hope

In mid- March 2019, Asia America Initiative and our local partner distributed toys and books to children undergoing cancer treatment in the Southern Philippines at the House of Hope in Davao City, Philippines. The beauty of this center is not only is it the only such cancer treatment facility in Mindanao, but the social equity shown to children of many ethnic and religious backgrounds.  "The toy distribution is a key part of the overall treatment regimen for the children," says Dr. Yolanda Stern, Director of One World Institute, it brings together the positive mental attitude needed for recovery with the potent cancer medicines made available at little to no cost for the patients."

Many people who have survived cancer and other rare diseases understand that in addition to medical care, it is the love, prayers and kindness that comes from family, friends and kind strangers that is key to healing and recovery. Asia America Initiative's cancer treatment program for children and women in GlobalGiving [#8496] has assisted many impoverished children in the Philippines thanks to the generosity of our donors. In addition to the hundreds of children we assist at House of Hope at the Southern Mindanao Medical Center in Davao, we have had special interventions that prove sometimes "miracles" can happen. 

Hundreds of children of landless farm worker families in Mindanao, Philippines have been stricken with cancer from toxic exposure. Their battle for survival is strengthened by simple toys provided by Asia America Initiative [AAI].  "The toys become their comforting friends with whom they can share their hopes and fears," says Dr. Yolanda.

In addition to support from our GlobalGiving donors and the churches and schools from middle America who donate stuffed toys that AAI ships to Davao, local government and business community members in Davao all do their part in the healing process.  The Children's Cancer Center at House of Hope in Davao City, provides cancer medication free of charge to children of all cultures and religions in a systematic manner.  Jollibee hambuger restaurants sends their mascot to dance and play with the children at many events at the House of Hope.  AAI, the One World Institute and other volunteer partners compliment medical treatment by giving these courageous children smiles, songs and laughter. Volunteer teachers and mentors use educational and fun story books provided by AAI to expand educational opportunities and the children's families' hope for the future. This is especially important for young children who need care and guidance.  It is a beautiful model of local and global "extended family" love.  We are very grateful for every donation and other acts of love that help bring these children through their darkest hours.

Characters are on hand to entertain the children
Characters are on hand to entertain the children

Links:

Apr 24, 2019

AAI - School Nurses - Fire Fighters Train Elementary Students in Emergency Response

Firemen train "little nurses" in rescue techniques
Firemen train "little nurses" in rescue techniques

In the Philippines, Asia America Initiative has taken the "next steps" to anticipate and provide emergency response to natural and man made disasters by expanding training of elementary, high school and college students. Starting in 2013, the Philippines has gained the reputation as one of the hardest hit areas in the world due to climate change and accelerated numbers of calamities within the Paific Ocean's  "Ring of Fire." We have learned from our experiences that prevention and training is the best life saving deterrent to overcome the damage and casualties caused by Nature's wrath.  We involved entire communities, including adults and children,to become capable and fearless volunteer first aid providers. 

Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and a continuous barrage of weather related storms and floods [such as Typhoon Mangkhut], earthquakes and volcanoes, have ravaged all regions of the Philippines.  The trainings, conducted by fire departments, Red Cross volunteers and school nurses have made communities more prepared when a disaster occurs, whether natural or man-made. This March and April of 2019, many schools participated in the training exercises. In addition, AAI has established a new relationship with the local Fire Departments to assist in logistics and training of the students andour GlobalGiving donor partners have helped us to purchase first aid materials, emergency water and food supplies to care for displaced communities. Everyone involved in the training program has been thrilled by the results.  

Our Child to Child Munting Nurse training program in Sulu Schools is blessed to have many partners from the Philippines, the United States and other parts of the world helping our community-based First Aid and Emergency Response efforts.  Trainers include Sulu Bureau of Fire Protection, the Jolo Emergency Response Network, Mindanao State University Nursing and Grad School, Notre Dame College Community Extension program, and Department of Education Child to Child activities. We are very grateful to Dr. Anissa for being our main partner at MSU. And to all governmental and non-governmental agencies who are involved. We have begun the Emergency Response program by providing much needed first aid supplies for emergency care and trauma counseling and toys for children who have experienced the fears related to survival and loss of loved ones. We hope to continue and build this program for all good people of Sulu and other areas of the Philippines who are under threat and in need.

In September, 2018, typhoon Mangkhut delivered destruction in the Philippines, killing an estimated 60 persons and more than 105,000 homeless. The main areas hit by the typhoon are the most productive farming lands in the Philippines were under water. The majority of our beneficiaries are children and the elderly. We conducted emergency relief services, providing food and water to thousands of families and continue to support schools in the communities affected. 

We have refused to surrender to the elements. Instead, we learned from Mangkhut and other tragics experiences to inspire and build a community of decicated and heroic first responders of all ages.  "We cannot put into words the gratitude we feel that people from around the world through AAI and their supporters such as GlobalGiving,"  says Dr. Anissa.  "We have strong faith that we are not abandoned, by God or by his angels who are embodied by donors from around the world who have put their sentiments into action.  You are all our angels.  We will aways remember and be grateful for your kindness and encouragement." 

Little Nurses at graduation with fireman mascot
Little Nurses at graduation with fireman mascot
Little Nurses and their trainers are awesome!!
Little Nurses and their trainers are awesome!!
Little Nurses practice bandaging classmates
Little Nurses practice bandaging classmates
AAI training partnership with professional medics
AAI training partnership with professional medics
Firemen train Little Nurses with lifesiz manequins
Firemen train Little Nurses with lifesiz manequins
School Nursesof 50 public schools assist training
School Nursesof 50 public schools assist training
Fire Fighters are mentor heroes to Little Nurses
Fire Fighters are mentor heroes to Little Nurses

Links:

 
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