Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors

by Asia America Initiative
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors
Food and Shelter for Philippine Typhoon Survivors

Christmas week 2017, major typhoon Vinta devastated close to 10 million people in southern Philippines. These areas were already heavily damaged in 2013 by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Asia America Initiative with our local partners are conducting long-term emergency relief and providing food and water to thousands of newely displace families. We also provide shelter materials, hygiene supplies, medicines and other post-trauma services to a target of 30,000 persons, mostly children and the elderly.  "Asia America Initiative is a life saver for many families in our community in Jolo,"  says recent typhoon survivor Rohelyn, mother of a 4 year old son, whose house roof was blown off by 100 mile per hour winds during the early morning hours of December 23 during Typhoon Vinta. 

In Cuartero, Capiz, wind has damaged roofs of schools that were previously repaired after Super Typhoon Haiyan.  "The beauty of AAI is that we can respond rapidly to the needs of people while it can take weeks or months for the government to reach the rural areas," states high school teacher Ramie, who also serves as an emergency relief volunteer for AAI along with many other teachers and students.

"In Lanao del Sur, more than 300,000 recent refugees had their temporary bamboo and plastic tent shelters ripped apart or collapsed by forceful typhoon winds and drenching rains" observes Dr.Yolanda Ortega Stern who is a relief specialist for the southern Philippines. "The unselfish action and willing partnership that AAI extends to many smaller community-based organizations makes the difference in the survival of thousands of people who have no place to run to, especially children and the elderly. Importantly, this brings families and neighbors closer together to assist each other."

On behalf of Asia America Initiative, we sincerely appreciate our donors from the GlobalGiving network who have made our work possible and have enhanced our effectiveness.  In the Philippines, against all odds, we continue to provide assistance in one of the most impacted countries at the epi-center of climate change and social instability. We wish you all a blessed New Year.  With your help, we pledge to continue our efforts in 2018. 

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To help a community overcome trauma caused by natural or man-made disasterswe have learned that participating in lively arts is a wonderful way to help bring a community back to life.  In the Philippines,  the children in our assisted public schools have been leading the way.  They are truly champions.

On December 4, 2017, when the 20 dancers and musicians of the Cuartero High School dance team took the floor at the national Department of Education competition in Baguio, they were completing an amazing journey as young performers.  They had written their own songs, choreographed their dances and came from communities where professional music and dance teachers are not available or otherwise affordable.  But here they were in front of a large audience competing against some of the most talented entertainers in Southeast Asia.  Their chief instructor, Teacher Ramie Capuyan recalls, "At that moment time seemed to stand still... all the hard work and fun and the new experience of traveling outside of our home area were just incredible."

Only four years earlier, Cuartero and the larger province of Capiz were struggling to survive. In November 2013, close to 9 million people in the Philippines were devastated by the cataclysmic super typhoon Haiyan [also named Yolanda]. Asia America Initiative with our local partners continue to conduct long-term emergency relief and provide food and water to thousands of families. We are among the last remaining international organizations still working in Typhoon Haiyan damaged communities.  

For the past four years following the typhoon and sea surge/ tsunami, which was consider the largest and most destructive on international record, Asia America Initiative has been helping communities transition to self sufficiency. AAI admired the spunk and volunteerism attitude of the Cuartero National High teaching staff and students. We have assisted with the production of basic healthy vegetables in school-based gardens, foods purchased in bulk from local markets along with hygiene supplies, medicines and other life-saving services. We have far surpassed our initial goal of assisting 5,000 families or 30,000 persons, mostly children. The main reason is because we are good listeners; attuned to the actual needs in their communities. AAI has encouraged community leaders and members to know that they are retaking control of their own lives.  The recovery of schools has been our greatest joy. 

In addition to the high school musicians and dancers in Cuartero, the Central Elementary School's folk dance team and the high energy P-Popp dancers have inspired parents and teachers alike.  Both teams finished Number One in their Province dressed in costumes designed by teachers and hand-made by their Mothers.

This has been a blessed experienced with our entire school community feeling pride and empowerment,"  says Principal Luz Mayo Roxas.  "The children express our happiness that we have been recovering from the Super Typhoon with teamwork and exuberant effort.  We are so grateful for Asia America Initiative for trusting us and for staying with us as a symbol that we are not forgotten.  And to the donors who have enabled us to purchase the materials we have used to move our lives forward.  May God bless you all."

Cuartero HS perform in National Dance Championship
Cuartero HS perform in National Dance Championship
Cuartero HS dance team compete
Cuartero HS dance team compete
Caroling door to door to raise funds to travel
Caroling door to door to raise funds to travel
Maindang Elementary School Drum and Bugle Corps
Maindang Elementary School Drum and Bugle Corps
Folk dancers of Cuartero Central Elementary School
Folk dancers of Cuartero Central Elementary School
Cuartero Central Elementary cultural performance
Cuartero Central Elementary cultural performance
Little drummer boy  at Maindang Elementary
Little drummer boy at Maindang Elementary

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Children learn how to cook daily meals at school
Children learn how to cook daily meals at school

 

The two most powerful storms in recent memory are the current hurricanes Harvey in Florida and Texas and the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Visayas Region of the Philippines. In both emergency situations, the true heroes have been ordinary people of humble backgrounds and local service providers who have made sacrifices needed to rescue their neighbours. Even though these areas are a half-planet distance from each other, the Ilongos, the Texans and Cajuns are distinguished by their unselfish attitudes and tireless acts of mutual support. These every day heroes have compensated for any lack of government resources. In the Philippines, government has an earned reputation for callous under-preformance.  But during four years of consistent hard work by local leaders and community teamwork, an unbelievable recovery has occurred. Resilient ordinary people are the key to survival and long-term rebuilding of devastated communities requires teamwork.  "Our recovery has been a true blessing," says Principal Rowena Silvestre-Ortizo at Catig-lLacadon Elementary School in Duenas, Iloilo.  "Many thanks for the assistance of Asia America Initiative who inspired us with a minimal amount of generosity to motivate the cooperation and labor of our pupils' parents and guardians."

In Duenas and Cuartero, Capiz in the Philippines, Asia America Initiative has had the good fortune to work for the past four years with hard-working landless farmers in rural upland areas damaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Rebuilding houses, schools and churches takes time, as we have learned after four years of solid effort by residents of all ages. "We have overcome a lack of financial resources through maintaining faith, our hands in the soil and a consistent enterprising attitude,"  Reflects principal Luz Roxas Mayo at Cuartero Central Elementary School. "The feeding program, gardens and clean water has been more than enough to revitalize our entire community."

Houses, churches and schools have been rebuilt by neighbors helping each other. Rainwater tanks funded by AAI and local communities have provided potable water and sustenance for gardens. Malnourished children have been fed through school-based gardens with grandmothers and moms cooking daily lunches on-site. Everyone eats together, without exclusions. This has built unbreakable community bonds. Texas, although better off financially, will be faced with an arduous and at times frustrating recovery period.  The unwavering community spirit demonstatrated by humble communities in the Philippines can be a great inspiration for American communities devastated by the power of nature. 

children learn value of healthy foods
children learn value of healthy foods
parents, teachers and students build garden
parents, teachers and students build garden
Every child eats together
Every child eats together
Water tank provided by AAI next to school kitchen
Water tank provided by AAI next to school kitchen
rainwater tank at Catig Lacadon ES aids hygiene
rainwater tank at Catig Lacadon ES aids hygiene

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In November 2013, close to 9 million people in the Philippines were devastated by the cataclysmic super typhoon Haiyan [also named Yolanda]. Asia America Initiative with our local partners continue to conduct long-term emergency relief and provide food and water to thousands of families. We are among the last remaining international organizations still working in communities.  

We are helping communities transition to self-sufficiency.  We have purchased basic foods in bulk in local markets along with hygiene supplies, medicines and other life-saving services. We have surpassed  our initial goal was 5,000 families or 30,000 persons, mostly children.  The schools are our venues.  

This 2017-18 school year will be the conclusion of our post- typhoon rebuilding efforts.  We invite you to support our efforts to help assure that the power of human endurance will overcome the destructiveness of Typhoon Haiyan [Yolanda].  Resiliency is our objective.  Thank you for your support.

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School Lunch Program cooked by Moms in Cuartero
School Lunch Program cooked by Moms in Cuartero

 "People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success."   --  Norman Vincent Peale

"We have risen from the depths of despair," says Principal Luz, at Cuartero Central Elementary School, in an area devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.  "The key to recovery has been the entire community working together with the support of our friends at Asia America Initiative. They convinced teachers and parents that even when government funds were scarce that we could find a way to rebuild our lives through our own faith, sweat and partnership."

The devastation caused by Haiyan affected millions of families in thousands of communities across the central Philippines region of Visayas.  Asia America Initiative was on the scene from November 2013, when the super-storm crushed the region with 200 mile-per-hour winds and tidal wave surges of up to 30 feet high, which crushed everything in its path.  AAI Director Albert Santoli says.  “We began forming partnerships with NGOs, government organizations and private citizens – including high school and college students.  After around four months of distributing food, water and shelter and medicines, we began the long-term rebuilding process.  While other outside groups spent their donations and departed, AAI has carefully budgeted funds and created trust with local officials and parents at public schools to carry the rebuilding forward into our 4th year of consistent hard work….  It has been high spirited and great fun, too. We believe in each other.”

The central program that has empowered the children is the “Moms to the Rescue” daily school lunch program. For less than 50 cents a day, AAI and parents have purchased enough food for big pots of soups and stews cooked on open fires at the schools by Moms, Dads and Grandmoms.  Serving is done by teachers.  No child is excluded.  Ist grade teacher Nelz at Maindang Elementary School reflects, “When the storm happened we were in shock and didn’t know how our school and community of poor farm workers could recover.  But Director Santoli and AAI’s assistance has only required that we try our best and do our part to help ourselves. In the manner that AAi never gives up and believes in us, that has inspired everyone. A positive attitude has made believers out of all of us.”

In a world overwhelmed with new natural and man-made disasters every week, tightly-budgeted mutual assistance is imperative.  “The ongoing blood, sweat and tears of rebuilding in our typhoon-recovery communities could not have happened without Global Giving and our GG donor partners,”  says Asia America Initiative Visayas Coordinator, Nurse Faith: “Every time we have almost run out of funds, our donor partners come to the rescue.  We could not have done this without Global Giving’s campaigns and support and most importantly the inner-belief and hard work of the local Visayas communities.  It is impossible to put our gratitude into words.”

Lunch is served at Maindang Elementary School
Lunch is served at Maindang Elementary School
Eating lunch in classroom as a family
Eating lunch in classroom as a family
Nutrition and Good Health = Improved Academics
Nutrition and Good Health = Improved Academics
Community pride in schools = children feel loved
Community pride in schools = children feel loved
Tastes so good!!
Tastes so good!!

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Organization Information

Asia America Initiative

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Albert Santoli
Washington, DC United States
$81,480 raised of $100,000 goal
 
705 donations
$18,520 to go
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