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.
Sep 25, 2015

Feeding 1000 child storm survivors for $200 a day

In the storm ravaged areas of central Philippines, close to 500,000 people, predominantly infants, children and youth, remain displaced by the destruction of their homes, schools and community livelihood systems during the November 13, 2013 super-typhoon Haiyan [named Yolanda in the Philippines.] The impact on children includes rampant waterborne diseases and widespread malnutrition.  Most international charities that made up for slack government recovery operations have now transferred to areas of the world with new cataclysmic refugee and internally displaced persons [IDPs] crises.  Asia America Initiative (AAI)has continued our work on a very modest budget thanks to the hard work and partnership of local community members and public school teachers.  On the island of Panay, which includes Iloilo and Capiz provinces, AAI continues to feed close to provide water and food assistance to ten schools with close to 3,000 pupils at 20 cents [US] per student per day.  

In many situations around the world, no matter how many people remain in dire need sustainable aid is precarious. Usually following a flood, an earthquake or an armed conflict, funding support from politically expedient governments and the kind-hearted donor bases usually dries up in  6 to 12  months after the most dramatic images vanish from the media spotlight.  Two key factors we have learned to sustaining aid in international humanitarian crisis have been strongly supported by Global Giving’s corporate and private donors. First, is the need for consistent oversite and reporting by local implementing personnel and groups. Second, is to tightly budget all grants and donations and encourage local self-sustaining fund raising by credible institutions such as churches and schools and civic organizations.

We emphasize communitydignity, especially among hard-hit families.  We request of school leaders and PTA parents that they at least perform necessary labor for rebuilding homes and schools, as well as improving nutrition for malnourished children through lunches cooked by parents, and families can grow nutritious vegetables and fruits in home or school-based gardens where AAI assists with gardening tools, additional seeds and irrigation.  With those “wheels in motion”  it is more possible to assistance growing programs for a necessary 12 to 36 month period of reconstruction and health infrastructure, as well as emotional trauma recovery. 

In August 2015, Project Leader Albert Santoli made an oversite and assessment visit to AAI programs in the Visayas region. He witnessed first-hand the impact of the ongoing hygiene and nutrition programs. Hundreds of children at many schools presented Director Santoli with hand drawn cards thanking AAI and our international donors for their support. The cards were heart-felt and amazingly cute with colorful crayon-drawn care-bears, happy dinosaurs, flowers of all colors, hearts with smiley faces.  Here are some of the children’s comments [their grammar unedited]:

“Thank you for giving so many books and many school supplies and many children are very happy.  Because in afternoons students come library and read books.”  Arlyn P, Grade 6

 “Thank you for the school bags, rubber slippers, books, seeds, toothbrushes, lunches and many more.  Thank you for your kindness.  May the Good Lord bless you with with good health.  GOD BLESS YOU!!”  - Cheerie Tina B, Grade 5

"Thank you very much for giving support to us students at Auroira Areaneta Memorial Elementary especially the books that we learn to read things every day to finish our studies…” –Jona P, Grade 4

“Thank you very much for the school supplies, food and clean water, and books we read every day. Many children need your help. Many teachers, classmates and my best friend is very happy. You are an inspiration for me.  I will always remember you. God love you.” – Trixie B., Grade 3

“Thank you for giving the food to my classmates and other children in our school Catig-Lacadon.  Thank you for the many beautiful things you give the children. I love you and will always remember you.”  – Juna Lyn, Grade 5.

“Thank for the school supplies,, school bags, feeding program, tooth paste, tooth brush, pencils, notebooks and other things.  Thank you so much.  We Love You.”  --  Rhyleen ., Grade 4

Moms cooking colorful fresh veggie soup
Moms cooking colorful fresh veggie soup
school garden with flowers and veggies Catig
school garden with flowers and veggies Catig
A 4th grade pupil tends soy beans in school garden
A 4th grade pupil tends soy beans in school garden
sports champions at Bulak ES overcame hunger
sports champions at Bulak ES overcame hunger
Cuartero HS District sports champs
Cuartero HS District sports champs
AAI Dir. Santoli with Catig Lacdon ES community
AAI Dir. Santoli with Catig Lacdon ES community
Award winning students have overcome hunger
Award winning students have overcome hunger

Links:

Sep 16, 2015

Saving 200 Children's Lives via Basic Nutrition

Pauline, holding banner & AAI Dir. Santoli at PSOD
Pauline, holding banner & AAI Dir. Santoli at PSOD

Vibrant 11 year old Pauline can light a stage with her smile. She is preparing to wow audiences with her singing at an upcoming holiday concert in Manila for children like herself who are healing from cancer and other rare diseases. Just five years ago, Pauline was considered close to death from a liver illness called Pompe Disease. Today, thanks to a global circle of friends, she is able to attend classes for healthy children at her public elementary school.  Her doctors consider her a small miracle, healing through love and the proper balance of scarce medicines, many prayers and proper nutrition.  

In the Philippines, similar to many other countries including developed societies such as the United States, medicines to treat cancer and other life threatening diseases in children are in short supply or too expensive for many families to afford.  In Manila, Asia America Initiative with the help of Global Giving donors is sustaining an interim solution to this shortage for more than 200 children with life threatening illnesses. We are partnering with doctors, nurses, religious clergy, civic organizations and volunteer parents at the National Institutes of  Health, Philippines General Hospital and the private charitable organization the Philippine Society for Orphan [Rare] Disorders to overcome this medicine shortage with alternative solutions.    

As a cancer survivor, AAI Program Director Albert Santoli understands the all-important support of family and friends, a positive attitude and proper nutrition to help the body’s immune system and to overcome the sometimes debilitating effects of strong chemotherapy and other medicines. “The AAI/GlobalGiving action is a monthly provision of $360 for the purchase and distribution of vitamins and nutritional supplements mixed in milk or fruit juices and also powdered milk,” Santoli explains. “This assures that even while we do our best to make sure that the children’s medical treatments are consistent and timely, their bodies are strong enough to overcome any gaps in formal medicines.  This extra effort maintains the children’s morale and fighting spirit. Because they understand that we believe that their lives matter, no matter the social or economic status of their family.”

In a thank you certificate to AAI, PSOD director Mrs. Cynthia Madaraog expresses "heartfelt gratitude" to Asia America Initiative and our donors, "For facilitating the delivery of replacement therapies for patients allowing continual life-saving infusions;

"For the generous donations that enables the purchase of much needed milk formula and vitamins given to patients who are nutritionally challenged;

"For the donation of various medical supplies needed during the patients' regular infusions and occasional hospitalization; 

"For all these, the patients have been truly blessed because of your kind and generosity." 

In the words of Pauline’s Mom, “God bless all of those people who have cared about us during this difficult period.  May God bless your families more.”  And in a simple hand-drawn "Thank You" card decorated with a flower filled with small hearts, Pauline simply adds:  "Thank you for the help you give to us." 

Special child at PSOD receiving infusion
Special child at PSOD receiving infusion
Testing new patient
Testing new patient
play therapy
play therapy
children singing  with joy after treatment
children singing with joy after treatment
AAI-provided nutrition and powdered milk
AAI-provided nutrition and powdered milk

Links:

Jul 13, 2015

New Water Tank and Hygiene System for 175 students

Teachers  at Catig-Lacadon with new water tank
Teachers at Catig-Lacadon with new water tank

Global Giving donors have done it again!!  A new 300 gallon water tank for the 175 students at the mountain top Catig-Lacadon ElmentarySchool has brought new health and life to the rural community.  The rural public school is located in the remote farming area in Duenas District in the Visayas region of the Philippines.  This area, with strong community spirit and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and rebuild, has become a core program for Asia America Initiative to  integrate health, hygiene and nutrition in schools.

The Duenas area was heavily damaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Especially serious was the destruction of clean water systems. With malnutrition rampant and tropical diseases everywhere, In many communities children miss school or perform poorly because of illness from unclean water or no water for hygiene. Catig-Lacadon Elementary has 175 pupils and when AAI arrived, the school had no wells or water tanks on the hilltop campus. Children had to walk down the steep hill to a forest  and fill pails or large soda bottles with water and then walk uphill 100 meters carrying the heavy loads in each hand. With funds from Global Giving donors, we were able to puirtchase a 300 gallon water tank attached to the school's rooftop gutter system to catch rainwater.  We also purchased rubber hoses and plastic pails and basins for hygiene. Community volunteers, especially parents, did the construction of the water system at the school.

"Catching rain water with the use of extended gutters around our school roof and the spout into the water tank certainly ease the pain of our little pupils fetching water from the bottom of the steep hill to use a fresh water source,"  says Catig-Lacadon Elementary principal Rowena Silvestre Ortizo says:  

 "On behalf of Catig-Lacadon elementary school, our teaching staff, parents and 175 pupils, I would like to thank Asia America Initiative through Prof.Albert Santoli and his helpful students for their untiring fund raising campaigns with support from friends like Global Giving to show their concern about our school."

 "In addion,medicines and first aid materials are important during emergencies and for every day health of the children. Purchasing these is hard for us because clinic maintenance and other operating expenses allocated in our school are limited. During an emergency we cannot easily go to town and buy medicines because our school is the farthest school within the district and with no public transportation." Principal Roqwena adds. " I would like donors of AAI to know how blessed, happy and overwhelmed Catig-Lacadon is. There are no such words that can express how thankful we are. God Bless"

hand soap and toothbrushes for each student
hand soap and toothbrushes for each student
AAI Nurse Faith delivers supplies to school clinic
AAI Nurse Faith delivers supplies to school clinic
4th grade students carry water uphill to school
4th grade students carry water uphill to school
old handwash system at Catig-Lacadon before tank
old handwash system at Catig-Lacadon before tank
rubber hose to improve water access with new tank
rubber hose to improve water access with new tank
AAI
AAI's Nurse Faith with Catig-Lacadon students

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