| Mar 13, 2017
Key to Disaster Recovery: Believe in Yourself
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
Eating lunch in classroom as a family
Nutrition and Good Health = Improved Academics
Community pride in schools = children feel loved
Tastes so good!!