A child receives food, hygiene supplies and a toy!
Throughout December and January, Asia America Initiative teams delivered food, hygiene supplies, and even toys and books to families in need. Our inter-faith program assists children in the three major regions of the Philippines -- Luzon, Mindanao and Visayas -- where typhoons, eathquakes and floods are compounded by many people infected by the Covid-19 virus. The local people who AAI considers our extended "family" suffer in obscurity whether living in remote jungle villages or in the shanty town areas of big cities. Our determined mission is prioritized to overcome extreme poverty and communal violence through integrated literacy and public education, livelihood vocational training, and health support. Our end of year crisis interventuions took place on the island of Sulu in southern Muslim Mindanao region, in mountainous village schools of Cuartero, Capiz in Visayas as well as the very nothern province of Isabela.
The global pandemic has limited long-distance travel of AAI DIrector Santoli, but the US team receives food and hygiene PPE materials in substantial donations from many areas in the United States which are then sent to AAI partners and sponsored schools in the Philippines who coordinate distribution with US headquarters. Close to three tons of these donations arrived Manila via cargo boats in December. As "lockdown" orders came closer, AAI Coordinators and volunteers in all three regions organized events to unbox and create family-sized relief packages to be distributed with assitance by fire fighters, police and members of the Phiippine armed forces. Nutritional needs are great as students are not attending school in person, where they would normally receive a daily meal. We are working with the AAI sponsored schools to identify what foods are needed most and how best to provide relief to families. Local first responders assist in the safe transport of AAI food and supplies and provide health checks and other community support activities.
Using the popular term of Bayanihan [Filipino] or Ohana [Hawaiian] meaning "extended family," AAI community-based programs involve Christians, Muslims, Indigenous Mountain Tribes and Badjao sea gypsies. Inter-faith cooperation teaches aid recipients and student volunteers the value of teamwork and unity. We provide face masks, basic foods, clean water, and hygiene. Fire Departments provide first aid training. And military units provide transportaion as needed. During the holiday period we served more than 1,000 families [close to 5,000 people]. We are currently providing protection, hand-wash, and nutrition programs for an additional 5,000 children,teachers, first responders and displaced persons.
Before the pandemic, we created a social media network for Muslim and Christian educators and children to share their new skills, hopes, and dreams. Mothers and fathers of pupils assist teachers to cook daily meals when schools are open. Despite the constant challenges of cash flow, we have provided thousands of books, school supplies, garden tools, and clean water systems.
Thank you so much for your past donations. If you would like to continue your support, please click the link to our project page.
Covid-19 Relief for Inter-Faith Filipino Children
Wishing you peace,
Director - Asia America Initiative
Volunteers packing rice for relief packages
Food donations to AAI-US arrive in the Philippines
Parents pick up AAI relief packs at Sulu School
AAI and local partner relief event at Carataya ES
Students seated to receive AAI package and a toy
Shoes were also given to improve hygiene
AAI team and volunteers organize the event well
AAI banner made by school Volunteers - Thank you!
FIre fighters transport AAI supplies from port