Dear Friends of AAI,
The Covid pandemic has caused children to miss close to two years of authentic classroom experience. This has been especially devastating at the elementary school level, where a love for learning is developed by relationships with teachers and classmates. The alternative learning approach by electronic or cell phone classes has been counter-productive as children get bored quickly and eyes are strained by looking at small screens. Worse, many locations have continuous blackouts or lack adequate internet connectivity.The printed module learning method is hindered by the cost of ink catridge, copy paper, and basic school supplies. Parents, many of whom are functionally illiterate, fear that their children will never escape the cycles of hunger and poverty.
In the Philippines, we are conducting an innovative community-based approach to enable teachers to mentor children outdoors or on a house-to-house basis. Our main center for these new programs is in Sulu Province, in the Muslim Autonomous zone of the Mindanao Region. Even before the pandemic, Sulu's island communities ranked near the bottom of the UN's worldwide Human Development Index. A school-aged population of some 350,000 children -- more than half of whom are girls -- suffer from hunger. Worldwide, female students are the most impacted in similar circumstances.
Especially during this pandemic, we have used funds from our GlobalGiving donors, matched by parents and some community leaders, to build clean water systems, WASH facilities, and hygenic classroom environments needed for safety during face-to-face mentoring. We are providing soaps, toothpaste, and other hygiene products. Principal Bhing at Timbagan Elementary School says, "By providing meals and snacks to our impoverished children, parents will accompany their little ones and help with cooking and gardening. As a result, children attend more days at school and their classroom performance is enhanced... We encourage the expansion of school-based gardens that provide fresh food for school lunches - cooked by volunteer mothers and grandmothers. With improved rain-catchment tanks and water delivery at each school, boys and girls can equally experience improved overall well-being."
To our GlobalGiving community of donors: You have done more than you can imagine. We could not do this without you!
Director, Asia America Initiative
Children attend mentoring classes
Mentoring requires covid protection
Eating together largest meal of day
Everyone gets their favorite porridge
improving writing skills
social bonding inspires children
Mother volunteers share cooking for students
Moms cook over open fire
breakfast snacks to take home
Moms wait for children to finish classes