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
AAI programs  emphasize nutrition and hygiene
AAI programs emphasize nutrition and hygiene
"Deeds rather than Words" and "Empowerment Rather Than Charity"  are among the most important lessons we have learned from our Asia America Initiative relief campaigns  in the post-Typhoon Haiyan areas of the Philippines.  We have been consistent in our actions during the two years of assisting communities that were devastated by Haiyan and numerous other typhoons, floods, earthquakes  --  as well as intensive poverty, hunger and violent civil conflict.  We believe the never-give-up attitude of our Filipino communities, whether Christian, Muslim or mountain tribes are joyful examples of how natural or man-made disasters that cause the suffering of millions of people can be mitigated though teamwork and positive attitudes.  Simply stated: Partnerships work.
In the words of Arlyn P. a sixth grader at Catig-Lacadon Elementary School in Duenas, Iloilo:  "Dear AAI and Prof. Santoli:  Thank you for giving many books, school supplies, rubber sandals and seeds for our garden. Our Moms and Dads are always helping our school too.  Many children here are very happy because in the afternoon we can go to the school library and read the books you gave. God love you and your family. Truly yours, ARLYN.
Nurse Faith dela Torre, AAI's program coordinator in westen Visayas reports, "In our ten elementary schools in Duenas and Cuartero, Capiz the parents are conducting Christmas carolling and other events to raise proceeds for the construction of temporary and permanent classrooms.  The classrooms are made of bamboo and the parents work with their hands to finish the buildings, which still have no roofs. After Typhoon Haiyan they put up plastic or cloth tents as their roofs, but recent storms have destroyed the makeshift roofs again. Only a year ago, when we started the daily feeding programs based on school gardens and Moms volunteering to cook healthy lunches at the schools, the childen were mostly suffering malnutrition. Today almost 90 percent have gained wieight and attend school every day, thanks to AAI and the parents and teachers all working together to assist the children." 
Your support helps AAI to develop grass-roots programs, modeled in the Philippines, that demonstrate how people of good will can work across cultures and religions to revitalize communities through teamwork and trust.
Please remember that fon Thursday November 5th, from 8 pm Eastern Time [5 pm West Coast time] time until midninight, Global Giving will double your donations for this typhoon relief program. Every contribution matters.  Much appreciated. 

 

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In the storm ravaged areas of central Philippines, close to 500,000 people, predominantly infants, children and youth, remain displaced by the destruction of their homes, schools and community livelihood systems during the November 13, 2013 super-typhoon Haiyan [named Yolanda in the Philippines.] The impact on children includes rampant waterborne diseases and widespread malnutrition.  Most international charities that made up for slack government recovery operations have now transferred to areas of the world with new cataclysmic refugee and internally displaced persons [IDPs] crises.  Asia America Initiative (AAI)has continued our work on a very modest budget thanks to the hard work and partnership of local community members and public school teachers.  On the island of Panay, which includes Iloilo and Capiz provinces, AAI continues to feed close to provide water and food assistance to ten schools with close to 3,000 pupils at 20 cents [US] per student per day.  

In many situations around the world, no matter how many people remain in dire need sustainable aid is precarious. Usually following a flood, an earthquake or an armed conflict, funding support from politically expedient governments and the kind-hearted donor bases usually dries up in  6 to 12  months after the most dramatic images vanish from the media spotlight.  Two key factors we have learned to sustaining aid in international humanitarian crisis have been strongly supported by Global Giving’s corporate and private donors. First, is the need for consistent oversite and reporting by local implementing personnel and groups. Second, is to tightly budget all grants and donations and encourage local self-sustaining fund raising by credible institutions such as churches and schools and civic organizations.

We emphasize communitydignity, especially among hard-hit families.  We request of school leaders and PTA parents that they at least perform necessary labor for rebuilding homes and schools, as well as improving nutrition for malnourished children through lunches cooked by parents, and families can grow nutritious vegetables and fruits in home or school-based gardens where AAI assists with gardening tools, additional seeds and irrigation.  With those “wheels in motion”  it is more possible to assistance growing programs for a necessary 12 to 36 month period of reconstruction and health infrastructure, as well as emotional trauma recovery. 

In August 2015, Project Leader Albert Santoli made an oversite and assessment visit to AAI programs in the Visayas region. He witnessed first-hand the impact of the ongoing hygiene and nutrition programs. Hundreds of children at many schools presented Director Santoli with hand drawn cards thanking AAI and our international donors for their support. The cards were heart-felt and amazingly cute with colorful crayon-drawn care-bears, happy dinosaurs, flowers of all colors, hearts with smiley faces.  Here are some of the children’s comments [their grammar unedited]:

“Thank you for giving so many books and many school supplies and many children are very happy.  Because in afternoons students come library and read books.”  Arlyn P, Grade 6

 “Thank you for the school bags, rubber slippers, books, seeds, toothbrushes, lunches and many more.  Thank you for your kindness.  May the Good Lord bless you with with good health.  GOD BLESS YOU!!”  - Cheerie Tina B, Grade 5

"Thank you very much for giving support to us students at Auroira Areaneta Memorial Elementary especially the books that we learn to read things every day to finish our studies…” –Jona P, Grade 4

“Thank you very much for the school supplies, food and clean water, and books we read every day. Many children need your help. Many teachers, classmates and my best friend is very happy. You are an inspiration for me.  I will always remember you. God love you.” – Trixie B., Grade 3

“Thank you for giving the food to my classmates and other children in our school Catig-Lacadon.  Thank you for the many beautiful things you give the children. I love you and will always remember you.”  – Juna Lyn, Grade 5.

“Thank for the school supplies,, school bags, feeding program, tooth paste, tooth brush, pencils, notebooks and other things.  Thank you so much.  We Love You.”  --  Rhyleen ., Grade 4

Moms cooking colorful fresh veggie soup
Moms cooking colorful fresh veggie soup
school garden with flowers and veggies Catig
school garden with flowers and veggies Catig
A 4th grade pupil tends soy beans in school garden
A 4th grade pupil tends soy beans in school garden
sports champions at Bulak ES overcame hunger
sports champions at Bulak ES overcame hunger
Cuartero HS District sports champs
Cuartero HS District sports champs
AAI Dir. Santoli with Catig Lacdon ES community
AAI Dir. Santoli with Catig Lacdon ES community
Award winning students have overcome hunger
Award winning students have overcome hunger

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Children share clean water for hygiene in school
Children share clean water for hygiene in school

Food and Water are essential for Life and Learning.  They are the staple provisions to public schools supported by Asia America Initiative. Many areas of Visayas, Philippines were devastated in late 2013 by 200 mile-per-hour winds, floods and surging tidal waves caused by the historic typhoon Haiyan.  Many communities are still in the midst of a difficult recovery, including hundreds of schools.  Although we cannot help everyone, we set realistic goals. Our objective Number One:  Be consistent with food and water for at least ten schools with around 2,500 childen per day or 10,000 lunches and clean water per week. Number Two:  Assist parents and local farming and fishing coops regain their self-reliance as food providers for their communities.  We now call this innovative but practical program "Mom and Dads to the Rescue" [where government fails].

According to the United Nations and Red Cross, during the first half of 2015, some 3 million persons remain internally displaced or destitute from the late-2013 storm that swept across the central Philippine islands.  Government support has been inconsistent and foreign organizations have mostly departed after running out of funds needed to assist millions of people per month.  Asia America Initiative is still in the midst of providing meaningful support with the aid of impoverished school children's parents, thanks to three factors: Consistent donors such as from our friends at Global Giving; strict budgeting and oversight; and community action with everyone working together to do their fair share of work and sacrifice for the good of their children.  

Catig-Lacadon Elementary School in Duenas, Iloilo.has 190 pupils on a steep hilltop surrounded by forests.  6 months after Typhoon Haiyan most children at the school were malnourished and clean water was severely lacking.   Principal Rowena Ortizo says,  "Our community has always been made of simple farm laborers who have been satisfied with the basic neccesseties of life.  But Typhoon Haiyan dealt us a terrible blow that took even our modest comforts and destroyed our farm fields and water wells, denying us the ability to feed ourselves properly.  Being is the remote countryside we received no international aid or support except from Asia America Initiative.  Because AAI staff is made of local people, especially Nurse Faith Dela Torre, their leadership in Washington such as Mr. Santoli became familiar with our difficult situation.  When he heard our story, AAI did not turn their backs to the needs of our children and community.  They did not have much money, either.  But they asked us what we needed and the parents were willing to work hard to do the labor to rebuild and mothers volunteered to cook school lunches every day."  

The entire school year, AAI kept our promise to provide funds to buy fresh vegetables and chickens and eggs for daily school meals.  Vitamins and milk were also distributed at least tweice per week.  AAI's Nurse Faith bought weight scales with Global Giving donated funds to do monthly charting of all children's weight and height. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, thanks to "Moms to the Rescue" backed with funds raised by AAI through Global Giving, less than one percent of children had malnutrition in the school.  

In the new 2015-16 school year, our goal is to have no malnutrition at Catig-Lacadon and in six additional schools in the surrounding rural area.  School gardens are being planted  by parents.  And a partnership between AAI and the Philippine Department of Agriculture has provided farming tools, irrigation hoses and workshops in organic gardening attended by close to 100 parents.  The weekend of May 30, 2015 following the organic gardening workshop, the local mayor loaned a water buffalo to each of 3 schools in Duenas District who had received the Department of Agriculture and AAI training. 

"The people may have suffered a  terrible blow," observes nurse Faith, "but they have pride and love for each other.  AAI treats everyone with equal respect and our donors like Global Giving encouraged them not to give up. As a result, they have risen to the occasion."

parents plant school-based garden in typhoon zone
parents plant school-based garden in typhoon zone
children help parent plant school-based garden
children help parent plant school-based garden
students harvest squash at school garden
students harvest squash at school garden
organic garden class for parents at local school
organic garden class for parents at local school
school children help Moms prepare garden lunch
school children help Moms prepare garden lunch

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Catig-Lacadon Elementary reading books from AAI
Catig-Lacadon Elementary reading books from AAI

SCHOOL BASED  NUTRITION PROGRAM LEADS TO STUDENT's SUCCESS AFTER TYPHOON

 When Asia America Initiative members first visited the 189 Filipino students at Catig-Lacadon Elementary School in Dueñas,in rural Iloilo province, they found a school devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.  Buildings were devastated, most books were destroyed and children were suffering from malnutrition caused by crop destruction. The school was largely forgotten by the government and were not expecting any assistance. Even though AAI had a limited budget and many schools requesting our assistance, we made a commitment to provide supplemental textbooks donated from United States schools.  And we asked the school administrators and Parent-Teachers Association to wortk with us on a daily school lunch proogram cooked and served by voluneer parents and teachers.  

AAI Head Nurse, Ms. Faith Omel dela Torre, made the difficult journey into a highland area to get a first hand view of the shool's most urgent needs. She recommended we intervene with an emphasis on nutrition, hygiene and reading maerials. She believed our showing concern would provide the Hope to begin healing from the trauma and maintaining a strong standard of education.  

School Principal Rowena recalls, "After the typhoon most all of our school books were destroyed and many families in our community could barely feed their children due to the destroyed crops. Being a rural school we felt very worried about that no one would come to our aid and we could not resume nornal lives. The visit of AAI to our small community was an unexpected surprise. Teachers and parents had a meeting and decided to accept AAI's offer of support." AAI delivered books,water pipes for clean water and pots and pans for daily lunches to be cooked by Moms, as well as a difgital scale to weigh the children and chart their health recovery. 

The school community responded by purchasing a refrigerator to be used for storage of their food purchases for week's feeding. With AAI donors' in the US providing modest funding support, the PTA could purchase fresh foods for one week and reduce  transportation expense. Parents also agreed to assist with gardening and cooking daily lunches. Each parent doing the cooking brought their own pots and ladles. In her monthly visits, Nurse Faith reflects, "I was touched by the sincerity and the cooperation of each parent and teacher in our program. Rather than skip clases because they were sick or too weak from lack of food, children have gone school every day because of the feeding. The teachers told me that if it is like a holiday and the children look sad if they missed the feeding for a day because every day they were excited for the menu.

Classroom improvement of the children is noticable.  Parents and teachers also bing vegetables that are available in their backyardd gardens so that they can provide more food for lunch. Children bring their own rice every day except for those whose families don’t have enough money to provide. In those cases, the teachers provide for their needs.

During the first first week of March, 2015,  Nurse Faith completed the third weighing of the children. "I am happy to inform you," she conveys, "that the students of Catig-Lacadon ES are now always present and active in class because of our feeding program. No student or child is now experiencing stomach aches and dizziness because of the hunger. Although there are some children that did not eat their breakfast before going to school because they don’t have food at home, they go to school early because they are excited for their feeding."

Principal Rowena adds, "Most of the children are gaining weight with only a few still malnourished. Teachers report that children are now more active in outdoor play and in class discussions compared to just six months ago.It was only. AAI who remembered us and inspired this feeding program and provided essential support. Teachers and parents are so very thankful." 

The nutritional improvement and the text books provided by AAI has permitted  Catig-Lacadon Elementary to have remedial education classes scheduled everyday in each grade  to borrow and read the books that AAI provided. There is also a  mini Library in the principal’s office. The books are still in the big plastic boxes which are neatly arranged and kept properly. Principal Rowena states, "The children really value the books that AAI gave to them." And the school has shined in academic performance, Recently, three Catig-Lacadon students were champions in a Regional math competition. Principal Rowena sends her heartfelt message to the Global Giving donor community,  "God bless all those donors to AAI who have made our recovery possible." 

Catig-Lacadon building destroyed by typhoon
Catig-Lacadon building destroyed by typhoon
Pupils of Catig-Lacadon Elementary
Pupils of Catig-Lacadon Elementary
Catig-Lacadon teachers and parents cook and serve
Catig-Lacadon teachers and parents cook and serve
Students eat together outdoors Catig-Lacadon
Students eat together outdoors Catig-Lacadon
sweet snacks during National Exams for 3rd graders
sweet snacks during National Exams for 3rd graders
Final Exams at Catig-Lacadon
Final Exams at Catig-Lacadon
Regional math champions from Catig-Lacadon
Regional math champions from Catig-Lacadon

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AAI school lunch program with Moms at Bulak Elem
AAI school lunch program with Moms at Bulak Elem

 

POSITVE IMPACT OF AAI:  ONGOING POST-TYPHOON HAIYAN SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMS

During the first year following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Visayas region of the Philippines, Asia America Initiative has coordinated a full spectrum of community rebuilding programs centered in each community's public schools.  We chose the schools as community centers because they are not political but are the heart and soul of civil society where the future is built through education of the children. AAI has required full participation of the community to not rely on charity but to take responsibility for their own future and to maintain a positive attitude for a better life.

AAI, through our US and international donors -- especially from Global Giving -- has provided tools, books, sanitation materials and sometimes actual seeds for planting gardens that provide nutrition and strength for students to maintain their health and succeed in their studies. The storm and continuous rain this entire year have diminished farmers' crop yields. Families sometimes go with only one or two meals per day. Our school lunch programs include parents and children planting and maintaining fruit and vegetable gardens, local farming coops selling us rice at below-market prices, local fishermen selling us fish at discount prices and mothers come to their children's schools each day to cook nutritious big pots of fresh vegetable soups and other traditional dishes that the children enjoy.  When we started the program early in 2014, more than 75 percent of all students in the area were malnourished.  

Today, more than 90 percent of students have regained their natural weight. They once again actively participate in physical activites such as sports and boy scout and girl scout "camporees."  And they participate in helping their fathers and local craftsmen rebuild their schools, such as constructing book shelves for school libraries.  There are now more than 1,000 children in AAI school assisted lunch programs in four elementary schools, five days each week.  This adds up to 20,000 lunches per month cooked and served by Moms.  AAI also provides multivitamins twice each week and milk as a protein booster each week. The cost per month for this volume of health and nutrition activities is around $5,000. AAI's Program Coordinator, Nurse Faith Dela Torre, recently wrote an end-of-year assessment report on our school lunch program:

Assessment From:  Faith dela Torre, RN

Program Coordinator in Visayas, Asia America Initiative

December 20, 2014

I have a good news that 90% of the 370 students in Bulak Elementary School are now normal in weight.  Most of them gained weight after we started our feeding program. Teachers also reported that when we conducted feeding in their school most of their children are always present because they were excited every day for the menu for feeding. I saw the big cooking pots we purchased for each school are almost empty at the end of lunch hour every time I visited and observed them in the school lunch program. Parents also told me that they are thankful for our feeding program because it helps a lot that the children improved their health and energy and are now active in school. No more children sleeping and suffering from stomach aches during class hours.

I saw the same effect in Maindang Elementary, in Cuartero, Capiz.  Some parents were amazed when they saw their children eating vegetables at school because in their house some children did not eat vegetables. The menus of Maindang ES are mostly vegetables with some ground pork and shredded chicken. Each child bought their own rice for lunch. Parents are happy with our program because they save a lot for other essential family needs to rebuild their homes, livelihood and lives and don’t need to give their children extra funds to buy a dish for their lunch. Same in Bulak ES where children are now always present and active. They are always excited to receive their daily meals and parents are very cooperative in working with teachers. Especially in kindergarten, mothers who cook at school are always able to supervise their children. Parents who cook or garden are all present and cooperating with each other in various activities.

Catig-Lacadon Elementary also prepared their feeding with mostly fresh vegetables. I did not weigh the children this week before Christmas break because there are so many activities in school. But in my observation, every time I visit them to monitor the lunches, children are always full and satisfied with their food. No one left food on their plate. I am so happy to see that children are improving not only their weight but also in their performance at school. No children now are suffering from hunger during school days because of AAI’s feeding program. Children don’t mind how many kilometers they walk to school each day -- sometimes three or four kilometers -- as long as when they reach their school they see some parents cooking to ease their hunger.

Thank you and God bless all of our donors for making a difference in so many children's lives..

Moms making fresh lunch at Catig-Lacadon Elem
Moms making fresh lunch at Catig-Lacadon Elem
Moms cooking lunch at Bulak Elementary
Moms cooking lunch at Bulak Elementary
Children wash hands before lunch at Maindang Elem
Children wash hands before lunch at Maindang Elem
students help build library shelves, Maindang Elem
students help build library shelves, Maindang Elem
Feeding minds of pre-K kids with AAI story books
Feeding minds of pre-K kids with AAI story books

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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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