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.
Jun 15, 2015

Nutritional Support for 250 Children with Rare Diseases

genetic enzyme infusion at PSOD
genetic enzyme infusion at PSOD

In May 2015, as a result of our successful fundraising via Global Giving’s Bonus Day campaign we have extended our support to children with cancer and rare diseases in the Philippines.  Asia America Initiative is assisting the Philippine Society for Orphan Diseases in Manila by providing a monthly budget for nutritional support to close to 250 children under their care.  The PSOD works in tandem with the Institute of Human Genetics, which is affiliated with the University of the Philippines under the direction of the national Department of Health. 

Since 2007. Asia America Initiative has been supporting children with special medical needs in the Philippines, whose families are trapped in dire poverty.  This essential program has saved the lives of close to 100 mothers and children who would not otherwise have access to expensive specialized medicines.  With assistance from Global Giving donors, through our AAI “Art of Hope and Healing” program we have been empowered to provide needed nutritional supplements, art materials and toys to boost the child patients’ attitude and inner-strength to overcome their physical disabilities. 

We are happy to report that 10 year old Pauline, who is  among AAI’s main recipients of the special medicines has now been accepted into regular classes with “normal” children at her elementary school.  Although she must continue her monthly medical infusions at PSOD and to supplement the enzyme in her body that she lacks, she is vibrant and enjoys singing, dancing and performing for her family and friends.  “Pauline’s recovery and the continued support from AAI and the Global Giving donors is wonderful news,” says Janet Jen Francisco, at PSOD.  “It is truly a huge blessing for the patients who badly need nutritional support. In behalf of our patients and their families, we thank you and your donors for your generosity.”

Ms. Cynthia Magdaraog, President of the PSOD is also the mother of a child with a rare disease.  “The kindness you have extended special patients, such as Pauline, has ensured their continuous treatment," she states. "We don't know how to thank you enough.”

child with osteogenesis disorder ar psod
child with osteogenesis disorder ar psod
physical therapy at PSOD
physical therapy at PSOD
occupational therapy at PSOD
occupational therapy at PSOD
student volunteers from Mindanao State University
student volunteers from Mindanao State University
Energetic Pauline with Mom and friends at PSOD
Energetic Pauline with Mom and friends at PSOD
PSOD multi-disciplinary treatment clinic
PSOD multi-disciplinary treatment clinic

Links:

Apr 28, 2015

AAI College Scholars Graduate with Honors in Typhoon Zone

Valedictorian Rosemaylin, VSU class 2015
Valedictorian Rosemaylin, VSU class 2015

On April 24, 2015 the final eleven Bright Future Scholars who were supported by Asia America Initiative and our GlobalGiving donors graduated from Visayas State University in Leyte which was especially devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. The purpose of the scholarship was to inspire the surrounding communities by the success of these undergraduate students whose families’ homes and livelihoods were destroyed by the epic storm. We were pleasantly impressed that there were five Cum Laude graduates among the Bright Future group.

Although we did not reach our full target of $24,000 for two years of tuition coverage for 27 to 40 students, AAI covered close to half of the amount needed. Three other partner organizations covered the remaining amount of funding needed for these youths to stay in school and graduate. And Visayas State University administrators provided full support for this program to succeed. AAI's intention was for these youths – whose parents are hardworking community members – to represent the willingness to achieve a college degree in practical, professional fields of study. This will enable these new graduates to find decent jobs and to help rebuild their communities over the long term.

Sharmaine graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Environmental Management. She says, "Our community has suffered great hardship and despair after Typhoon Yolanda. People have gotten more poor. Our role as scholars is to assist the community with the skills we have learned."

Another honors student, Leomar, graduated with a degree in Chemistry. "The scholarship inspired me to strive more," he states,” and to work harder to achieve greater heights in my field of study. I am so grateful to all of our benefactors who permitted myself and the other scholars the opportunity to go far in life."

"I now see a bright light in what had been a dark road," says Bonifacio who earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering and who was recognized as the most inspiring student by his graduating class because of the obstacles that he and his mother, who hand-washes clothes to support her son and elementary school daughter, have overcome. "We scholars are becoming role models to motivate the people that poverty is not an impossible hindrance to achieving success... as long as we have the desire accompanied with perseverance."

And with a little help from their friends at AAI and Global Giving, their dreams of education have been realized. Thank you all!!  

VSU Leyte graduating class 2015
VSU Leyte graduating class 2015
Bright Future Scholar Joram, BS Education w family
Bright Future Scholar Joram, BS Education w family
VSU Leyte Dean Dr. Edwin Balabarino
VSU Leyte Dean Dr. Edwin Balabarino
Scholar Sharmaine, BS Environmental Science
Scholar Sharmaine, BS Environmental Science
Scholar Bonifacio w Mom, BS Mech Engineering
Scholar Bonifacio w Mom, BS Mech Engineering

Links:

Mar 24, 2015

Rare Disease Child Fulfills Her Dream to Sing

Pauline in blue Princess gown sings on-stage
Pauline in blue Princess gown sings on-stage

On Valentine Day 2015, a small child in a blue Princess gown named Pauline, age 10, fulfilled a dream by singing on stage at a concert in the Makati District of Manila, Philippines benefitting seriously ill children such as herself. She was joined on stage by five other small friends with whom she shares treatment via the Rare and Orphan Disease Division of the National Institute of Health at Philippines General Hospital. The concert, starring the singing group the Angelos, benefitted the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders. The children's proud families attended as guests of Asia America Initiative who support and assist their care by NIH by facilitating the specialized medicines from the United States to Manila. Thanks to Global Giving donors, AAI made a $500 donation to PSOD to cover the cost of supplemental medicines and nutritional support for these very special children. 

Pauline suffers from a very rare disorder named Gaucher Disease. Gaucher disease is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase.  It affects the spleen, liver, lungs, bone marrow, and brain.   There is only one life-saving treatment: enzyme replacement therapy.  Imiglucerase  (cerezyme)- Genzyme  is available for most people with types 1 and 3 Gaucher disease. Given intravenously every two weeks, this therapy decreases liver and spleen size, reduces skeletal anomalies, and reverses other symptoms of the disorder, including abnormal blood counts.

Dr. Maryanne Chiong, lead physician at the Institute of Human Genetics at the National Institutes of Health says, "These children are from very indigent families from Manila and some from provinces. Their families could never afford the cost of these very specialized medicines.  But without the monthly intravenous cerezyme medicines they will die from internal bleeding or from neurologic complications -- if their brain is affected."  

Asia America Initiative's assistance to these children via Dr. Chiong and her staff compliments the wonderful hospitality and support and supplemental funding for travel and lodging that comes from the privately-funded PSOD to children such as Pauline and their families.  Until a more permanent cure is found, the children will need their monthly injections for their entire lives.

When AAI staff first met Pauline in 2011, she was a frightened five year old wearing a surgical mask in a hospital bed. She was in continuous pain and had refused to go to kindergarten because of teasing by other children about her appearance--her swollen abdomen caused by the disease. She faced imminent tragedy due to the pressure on her liver.  She could hardly walk, much less dance.  

The past four years of medical care has made a tremendous difference. At the Valentine benefit concert,  Pauline who loves to sing and dance and always has a big smile, wore a blue princess dress and tiara with a microphone in her hand. It was a dream come true to be on stage in a spotlight with her friends to sing along with the Angelos "boy band." 

In a previous visit to NIH facilities at Philippine General Hospital, her grateful Mom said with tears in her eyes, "May God bless all of our friends from far away places who have never met us, but have cared for Pauline as if she was one of their own family members. Words cannot describe the gratitude that we feel. Maraming salamat.[Thank you very much.]"

Pauline 2011 suffering from lethal rare disease
Pauline 2011 suffering from lethal rare disease
2014 medical treatment of rare disease kids at NIH
2014 medical treatment of rare disease kids at NIH
2014 Pauline and Krishna receive monthly treatment
2014 Pauline and Krishna receive monthly treatment
2015 Pauline,  10 years old, rehearses w friends
2015 Pauline, 10 years old, rehearses w friends
Valentine 2015 Concert with Pauline and friends
Valentine 2015 Concert with Pauline and friends
Pauline and Krishna filled with life
Pauline and Krishna filled with life
AAI Dir. Santoli with Pauline and Mom at NIH 2012
AAI Dir. Santoli with Pauline and Mom at NIH 2012

Links:

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