Poverty, hunger, communal violence and limited public health plague Muslim Mindanao, Philippines. Sulu Province remains near the bottom of the UN's worldwide Human Development Index. A school-aged population of some 350,000 children are mostly impoverished and suffering from hunger. Female students are often most affected. During the last weeks of the school year we will assist 3 schools with a total of 300 girls with daily lunches to build their health and focus for educational success.
Poor school performance entraps communities in endless cycles of poverty. Sulu Province, in the Philippines, is a prime example of some 350,000 mostly Muslim children suffering malnutrition and hopelessness -- recruitment tools for extremist groups. AAI's intercultural programs create "Peace Zones" through community-based Child Friendly Schools. To sustain progress and avoid the "charity trap," parents and local officials match AAI funding in equal partnership for health and progress.
This program will assist 300 Muslim girls in three elementary schools in Sulu, Philippines to overcome extreme poverty, hunger and rampant illness via clean water, improved hygiene and nutritious lunches to defeat hunger and to excel in their studies and final exams. Parents will assist teachers to cook and serve daily healthy lunches, build water tanks and hand wash facilities. We will provide garden tools, seeds, and pipes for fresh water. This will also deter violence and prevent refugees.
The long-term positive impact of this program empowers Christian and Muslim communities to learn from each other through their respective best practices. Asia America Initiative serves as a communication bridge. Our social media networks facilitate transparent communication and dispel fear and myths that alienate communities who feel alone and abandoned. Progress in schools, positive interaction and equal treatment of various cultural groups by AAI facilitates mutual respect and inspiration.