Clean Water, WASH & Nutrition for 500 Muslim Girls

by Asia America Initiative Vetted since 2011 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
Students wash hands before school lunch
Students wash hands before school lunch

Wearing bright orange vests with nursing identity logos, girls and boys in more than 50 elementary schools in the Muslim Mindanao Region in Sulu Province in the Philippines are public health heroes.  These children, from 4th to 6th grade, are trained by local Philippine Red Cross representatives and school nurses to perform a variety of tasks to improve first aid and health conditions in their school communities. They also help to serve daily lunches cooked at school by voulunteer Moms under Asia America Initiative's "One School, One Family" nutrition and peace building program.  Most of these mini-nurses, now numbering more than 500 in Sulu, are planning a career in nursing and other health professions. They perform diverse tasks such as putting bandages on fellow students, conducting anti-malaria campaigns by keeping school yards clean and eliminating stagnant water where mosqiitos lay eggs, teaching fellow students how to properly wash their hands and brush their teeth.  Living in the Pacific Ocean Ring of Fire area plagued by volcanoes and earthquakes, the little nurses are grouped into skilled teams of emergency aid providers at each participating school.

When AAI began assisting Sulu State College to train a mere 50 impoverished students to complete nursing school, we had no idea how the overall public health program in Sulu would grow!!   In 2014, less than 40 percent of license exam takers passed their tests.  AAI set a simple goal of helping 50 young Muslim women achieve their goal to become Regisered Nurses to assist their communities.  Today, more than 200 young ladies and gentlemen have earned their Registered Nurses professional certification under our assistance program. The most recent license group includes a perfect one hundred percent of successful national exam takers from Sulu in June 2018. Our approach is to build a generational cultural attitude of progress.  We are targeting results over a ten year period rather than simply intervening for one or two years.  Today's mini-nurses are tomorrow's experienced health care providers. 

Health conditions in Sulu have continued to deteriorate due to natural and man-made calamities. During the months of July and July 2018, the Sulu area is experiencing a clean water shortage and shortage of electricity due to political management issues.  In addition, flooding caused by severe rains have hindered water filtration and caused unsanitary conditions in flooded public streets and schools.  In addition to funding from Global Giving donors, AAI was able to secure a donation of soaps that is much needed by elementary schools in the communities we serve. 

 "The mini-nurses program is a wonderful example of what we call Child-to-Child mentoring in our schools," says Province Department of Education head nurse Shareen in the Sulu Department of Education headquarters.  "We have profound appreciation of the assistance from Asia America Initiative and their GlobalGiving donors whose loyalty allows our program to continue to grow and provide previously unthinkable public health services to our communities."

Monsoon floods in Sulu June 2018
Monsoon floods in Sulu June 2018
Munting Nurses teaching first graders to wash hand
Munting Nurses teaching first graders to wash hand
AAI water containers purchased with GG donations
AAI water containers purchased with GG donations
Simple water system for hand wash hygiene
Simple water system for hand wash hygiene
Emergency response training
Emergency response training
Munting Nurse Esprit de Corps
Munting Nurse Esprit de Corps

Links:

Teachers and Moms at Mukammali Elementary School
Teachers and Moms at Mukammali Elementary School

Mother's Day 2018 is a special time for the children in the 18 elementary schools of Indanan South School District in Sulu Province of the Muslim Autonomous Region in the Philippines. The 100 islands of Sulu form a maritime bridge between north and south Asia, the Muslim cultures of Indonesia, and the Middle East, as well as a historic connection to the West. The region remains near the bottom of the UN's worldwide Human Development Index. A school-aged population of some 350,000 children  -- more than half girls -- are impoverished and suffering from malnutrition, unclean water and communal violence. We refuse to permit these children to suffer life's sometimes-cruel consequences in today's chaotic world. With sparse government funding, thanks to their hard working mothers and many unselfish and courageous teachers, we are proving that local communities can transform their lives. 

With support from Global Giving donors we have helped to bring more than 500 Muslim girls and an equal number of boys out of hunger.  Our motto is "One School, One Family" where teachers, mothers and local volunteers backed by international small donors are assuring that these children are not forgotten.  Worldwide, female students are most affected in similar schools. In this program, we assist five schools with a total of 500 girls, to create clean water systems, improved hygiene and daily nutrition.

"Parents have been so active in their support for the feeding program," says Principal Masdida of Timbangan Elementary school, "They really try their best. The parents truly gave us the assurance and they socialize and make good partnerships.  That is their personal investment in the success of our elementary school.

"Even if they have little funds to spend, they permit their children -- our pupils -- to bring firewood, water, and vegetables from the households who have gardens in their lawn to serve as their counterparts.  After all the foods have been cooked, we patiently wait until the designated lunch time and serve the pupils.  Everyone eats together outdoors or inside of their classrooms... Despite the challenges we always face, we are thankful to God that all of us have common goals to implement this program to strengthen a harmonious relationship.

"Also, a big "thank you" to our major partner Asia America Initiative and to all the people across the world who have supported our dreams for healthy children."  

Thank you for supporting our efforts.

Albert Santoli

President, Asia America Initiative

 

P.S. You or someone you know - may be interested in AAI's current microproject. These projects have smaller goals and quick rewards in providing relief and supplies to children and communities in need.

In honor of Mother's Day, our Mother's Day campaign project spotlights the use of local sourcing of food and helping local moms feed their impoverished communities in the southern Philippines.

AAI encourages these communities to work together at the local school level, which results in positive interaction and equal treatment of various cultural groups. The area schools grow their own gardens funded by AAI and our generous donors. Once the vegetables are grown, they will be used to make the daily meal with the addition of a protein and rice; often chicken or eggs. PTA mothers and teachers volunteer to cook at the underserved schools. This Mother's Day project will help 600 children, their moms and teachers to receive a communal meal at 4 rural primary schools in Sulu, Philippines. Mothers will receive new pots and pans to assist school nurses to cook and serve daily healthy lunches. We will also provide garden tools, seeds, and pipes for fresh water for washing and cooking. Hygiene is a top priority at AAI sponsored schools.  Here is the link to the special microproject:

 

Thank you again.

Albert Santoli

President, Asia America Initiative

 

PTA Moms prepare lunch for hungry kids
PTA Moms prepare lunch for hungry kids
No electric ovens, Moms cook the old-fashioned way
No electric ovens, Moms cook the old-fashioned way
Lunch time at Manilop Elementary School
Lunch time at Manilop Elementary School
Lunch is so good at Sahaya Elementary
Lunch is so good at Sahaya Elementary
Happy to serve their children
Happy to serve their children

Links:

Girls at the WASH station
Girls at the WASH station

Dear Donors to "Clean Water, WASH & Nutrition for 500 Muslim Girls",

We are honored to be included in GlobalGiving's campaign "Girl Fund" from March 1st to the 15th. 

As a special event, all day on March 8th starting at midnight, GlobalGiving will be generously matching donations at 30%.  If you are thinking of making a contribution, a matching day is always a good way to expand your contribution. $100 will have a match of $30. $50 will have a match of $15.

Female students are often most affected. Students often have to travel long distances to attend school and in communities under martial law, sending your girls has additional risk. Parents, as you can understand, will often want to keep school-aged girls home to help with daily chores and take care of younger siblings. But when children can attend an Asia America Initiative supported school, the parents know their chidren will be able to wash, have access to clean water, will eat lunch with their classmates and feel safe as their school is considered a "Peace Zone."  Children being able to eat at school also helps the family stretch its resources better in such impoverished areas. Once girls are in school and can stay all day, their chances for sustained learning can occur. Girls can have a chance to become educated and overcome the poverty and subsistence that is so prevalent in their communities.

You may have read the latest report from our Director at Asia America Initiative:

"According to the World Health Organization, 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 current school year, despite conducting programs under martial law, Asia America Initiative has partnered with local teachers, parents and industrious officials to build clean water WASH facilities in at least 24 schools in Sulu.  In addition, we have increased basic nutrition through school lunches cooked by volunteer mothers and grandmothers.  By overcoming malnutrition and illness, we have added to the peace process in the province by our motto "One School/One Family." The improved drinking water and WASH facilities at each school has encouraged the expansion of school-based gardens which provide fresh food for lunches.  All of these components combine to overcome poverty, hunger, and communal violence that plague many areas in the Muslim Mindanao region of the Philippines. "The beauty of Asia America Initiative's integrated water and health programs," says Indanan District schools Supervisor Samoore Lahadjali "is that all members of our community can have a role in working together to build a better future for our children. Equal treatment of girls and boys sets a fine example of mutual respect and non-biased opportunity for all of our students."  

"In 2018, our goal is to improve and expand our programs to additional schools in need.  We seek to maintain an adequate supply of soap and WASH stations to keep children's hands clean in order to keep them healthy, stable and continuing to improve classroom performances.  Our beneficiaries in Sulu feel they are truly not forgotten.  They send their gratitude to all of our kind donors in the GlobalGiving community!" - Director Al Santoli

As you have supported this project before, we thank you very much for your kind donations and will send you reports in the future with our progress. We thought you may definitely want to be involved in the Girl Fund Campaign and extra bonus as it helps to promote the project that touched your heart.

Thank you again!

 

Brushing Teeth at School
Brushing Teeth at School
Girls at school feeding younger students
Girls at school feeding younger students
Moms at school preparing lunch
Moms at school preparing lunch
Moms and Grand-moms cooking
Moms and Grand-moms cooking
Girls in class
Girls in class
Students wash hands together before school lunch
Students wash hands together before school lunch

"It's amazing what a pail of rainwater and simple bars of soap can do to improve children's school performances and strengthen their overall health," observes Nurse Shareen, who is Chief Nurse of the Health Division in the Department of Education in Sulu Province, Philippines.  Thanks to GlobalGiving donors, 1,000 children, 500 girls and 500 boys, in three lively elementary schools -- Mukamalli, Sheikh Mustafa and Sahaya Integrated Madrasa -- have been able to improve their performances with the purchase of three 100 gallon hard plastic rainwater-catching tanks adjoining school facilities.  In addition, the 500 bars of soap purchased by Asia America Initiative assure that the children have clean hands before and after their daily lunches on school grounds. Infections and communicable illnesses that cause children to miss school days have dramatically been reduced.  "Needless to say," says Nurse Shareen, their classroom performances have improved substantially."

According to the World Health Organization, 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 current school year, despite conducting programs under martial law, Asia America Initiative has partnered with local teachers, parents and industrious officials to build clean water WASH facilities in at least 24 schools in Sulu.  In addition, we have increased basic nutrition through school lunches cooked by volunteer mothers and grandmothers.  By overcoming malnutrition and illness, we have added to the peace process in the province by our motto "One School/One Family." The improved drinking water and WASH facilities at each school has encouraged the expansion of school-based gardens which provide fresh food for lunches.  All of these components combine to overcome poverty, hunger, and communal violence that plague many areas in the Muslim Mindanao region of the Philippines. "The beauty of Asia America Initiative's integrated water and health programs," says Indanan District schools Supervisor Samoore Lahadjali "is that all members of our community can have a role in working together to build a better future for our children. Equal treatment of girls and boys sets a fine example of mutual respect and non-biased opportunity for all of our students."    

In 2018, our goal is to improve and expand beyond these three wonderful elementary schools.  We seek to maintain an adequate supply of soap and hand sanitizer to keep children's hands clean in order to keep their health stable and sustain their improving classroom performances.  Our beneficiaries in Sulu feel they are truly not forgotten.  They send their gratitude to all of our kind donors in the GlobalGiving community!

Soap from Asia America Initiative for 24 schools
Soap from Asia America Initiative for 24 schools
100 gallon water tank captures fresh rain water
100 gallon water tank captures fresh rain water
happy hand washers in rural school
happy hand washers in rural school

Links:

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.  Although the region is enduring martial law and horrific violence in areas where the ISIS extremists have penetrated, through this program Asia America Initiative is helping people to take charge of their lives and not be influenced by negative forces.  

In 2016, we committed to assist 3 schools with a total of 500 girls to build clean water systems, WASH facilities and adequate nutrition essential for improved health and education.  Although we have had limited funds, we have participated in creative partnerships with local school communities to build a network of "Child Friendly Peace Zones" where better health and daily meals for small children have kept vulnerable youths in school and away from a life of violence and desperation that often begins at 11 or 12 years old.

At a time when radical groups are seeking to enter Muslim Mindanao region and fighting has intensified in other regional provinces, in our Sulu program areas we have offered children and their parents an alternative to self-destruction and a life of hopelessness.

"On cool days when it is raining heavily, our big pots of "mami dear" chicken soup is the best remedy."  says Sahaya Elementary School principal Fatria T. "Our pupils like mami soup, especially on a  rainy day, when so many suffer malnutrition and often get sick and miss school. They so enjoy eating and look forward to coming to school, Some mothers, in addition to cooking, assisted their kindergarten sons and daughters to eat their hot and delicious chicken and veggie soup."

We are pleased to report that we have surpassed assisting 3 schools with a total of 500 girls, we have extended WASH facilities and adequate nutrition through school lunches cooked by volunteer mothers and grandmothers which are essential for improved health and education to more than 24 schools in Sulu. With improved water delivery at each school, parents are inspired to give extra effort to create and expand school-based gardens to provide fresh foods at each school.

"In Sulu," observes retired Schools Superintendent Dr. Amy M., "mass school feedings remain essential. No matter if the schools are humble -- with good teachers and healthy children learning is achieved. Rising cost of food in Sulu is the hidden pain of martial law. Among our top to priorities to create each school as a “Peace Zone” is to continue and grow the mass feedings of all children and school gardens."

New water tank at Mukamalli Elementary
New water tank at Mukamalli Elementary
hand wash poster at Sulu school WASH facilities
hand wash poster at Sulu school WASH facilities
New WASH facility at Sheikh Mustafa Elementary
New WASH facility at Sheikh Mustafa Elementary
Pot of soup made with clean water at Sahaya ES
Pot of soup made with clean water at Sahaya ES
Abundant harvest via irrigation at Bunot ES
Abundant harvest via irrigation at Bunot ES
Bunot ES Moms cook lunch with garden veggies
Bunot ES Moms cook lunch with garden veggies

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Asia America Initiative

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.asiaamerica.org/​
Project Leader:
Albert Santoli
Washington, DC United States
$8,198 raised of $10,000 goal
 
78 donations
$1,802 to go
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