Food and Water for Philippine Typhoon Survivors

by Asia America Initiative
Vetted

December, 2016 has been a joyful time in Asia America Initiative's eight model elementary schools in the Visayas Region of the Philippines.  Just three years ago, in November 2013, the region was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, the largest super storm in modern history.  Millions of people were living in temporary shelters and hundreds of schools and public health facilities damaged beyond repair.  Everyone on site, whether in local government or the international humanitarian community was shocked and unprepared for the intensity of the storm.  Most agencies received funding for only a short period of program life.  To make matters worse, corrupt government officials squandered millions of dollars of international assistance funds.  Asia America Initiative's local staff and US-based director saw that at least a four year plan would be needed with more and more responsibility for recovery shifting from foreign charitable assistance to the talent and labor by local community leaders and residents. 

We determined that the job of AAI is to instill confidence by not walking away.  We learned to compensate for scarce funds by setting a good example of accountability, oversite and strict budgeting.  The results in the Districts of Duenas, Iloilo and Cuartero, Capiz have been outstanding.  In AAI's schools, libraries of donated books have compensated for destroyed learning materials, daily lunch programs led by parents and teachers have led to full attendance. Wholesale athletic equipment has inspired championship athletic performances. Clean water systems built by parents and neighbors has dramatically improved health and hygiene.  Our success is a fusion of global and local effort.

Principal Luz Mayo Roxas at Angub Elementary School in Cuartero has both Filipino and rural mountain tribal children in her classrooms.  Everyone is treated equally and eats together every day as a big family, with Mothers and grandmothers doing the cooking and serving. Even before the great storm, these communities were largely underserved and forgotten by the rest of society.  Principal Roxas says, "It has been the partnership between our schools here in Cuartero with AAI and your donors that has made a great boost to our success. Last month we received stuff toys from AAI to rewards our honor pupils from third up to first honors in math, science and spelling.

“God is our great healer.  But God will especially bless those people whose hearts whose have the fruits of the Spirit by their giving to children in need.  Our division was happy for the provision of books because we use them for teachers' references and fun activities for the children. We have also seen a significant improvement in students' attendance and classroom work due to the free feeding which very helpful for our children.  The gardens with seeds from AAI and local farmers have made school lunches affordable and reduced malnutrition from over half of our pupils to practically none who have empty stomachs today."

“All of us are praying  that your program will not end.  These gifts are a great help for me as a principal and for our teachers.  This is a great motivator for the Filipino children who are aware enough to be inspired by good samaritans who extend their help to those who are in need.  We will never forget your kindness.”  

Grandma Serves School Lunch
Grandma Serves School Lunch
Reading Class with AAI donated books
Reading Class with AAI donated books
Star Wars Books in 3-D at Carataya Elementary
Star Wars Books in 3-D at Carataya Elementary
6th Grade 1st Prize winner in Plant Science
6th Grade 1st Prize winner in Plant Science
Boy Scouts clean yard at Maindang Elementary
Boy Scouts clean yard at Maindang Elementary
Girl Scout troop at Bulak Elementary SChool
Girl Scout troop at Bulak Elementary SChool

Links:

Fun lunch at Maindang Elementary School, Capiz
Fun lunch at Maindang Elementary School, Capiz

"Thank you for giving us, books, seeds, rubber slippers [sandals] and school supplies.  We appreciate your concern for us.  We promise we will study hard.  Thank you and God bless." Noel C., Grade 6 pupil, Catig-Lacadon Elementary

   In November,  2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the central Philippines islands and coastal areas.  Brutal 200 mph winds and 30 foot storm surges [tidal waves] made Haiyan the most devasting storm in recorded history. Some 9 million people were rendered homeless and hundreds of schools and clean water systems were destroyed. As we approach the third anniversary, many communities and schools are still in recovery.  Asia America Initiavre is one of the few international humanitarian organizations that is still in full operational mode in the countryside areas of  Iloilo and Capiz provinces.  Even before the storm, the poverty rate of agricultural workers and small farmers was rampant and the malnutrition rate of children, whether of the Ilongo ethnic group or the mountain hilltribes was well over 50 percent. In his recent visit to some 10 school district or village schools in those areas, AAI Director Albert Santoli held community meetings with teachers and parents to better undedrstand and adapt these model programs for a wider outreach and scope of services. Principal Rowena Siverstre Ortizo of Catig-Lacadon Elementary in Duenas, Iloilo, says: "Thank you so much for the continued feeding programs of AAI The parents and students look forward to school each day because our schools have become true centers of health and learning. Our children's health directly affects their school attendance and classroom performance. We are so blessed and grateful to be one of your recepient schools"  

 "Thank you for giving us garden tools, books and many school supplies.  Many children are very happy because in afternoons pupils come to library and read books."  Ann P., Grade 6 Pupil, Aurora-Araneta Elementary

 In addition to food and clean water, the education, sports and health needs in damaged schools are being replenished, Student's fathers do volunteer construction and rennovation of buildings destroyed in the mega-storm.   In Cuartero, Capiz the results have been dramatic. “I have been to Carataya Elementary School, San Antonio Elementary and Maindang Elementary School conducting the pre-assessment in Math and English,"  says Dr. Luz Rojas Mayo of the Curatero Department of Education.  "I am happy to inform you that the said schools are now improving in terms of their health status as well on their academic performance. We are so blessed for the continuous support.of AAI and our community mobilization campaigns."  The recovery of Capiz province schools which were heavily damaged by the super typhoon.his has been made possible by the generosity of Global Giving donors. The key catalyst for success is partnership of AAI with local civic groups, village officials and parents and teachers at under-supplied schools.   

"Thank you, Sir Albert Santoli and your friends for giving the food to my classmates and other children in this school Catig-Lacadon.  We love you because you help this school.  We remember you wherever you are going to help many children in their places.  God bless you and your friends' families."  Juna Lyn R., 5th Grade, Catig-Lacadon

The new 2016-17 school year began in mid-June. Malnutrition has dropped from close to 50 percent of all students to around 5 percent. Each school now has a water tank and wash basins to provide for adequate sanitation. The quality of drinking water has dramatically improved, reducing water-borne and mosquito related illnesses. AAI and our donor-partners are viewed as reliable friends while communities re-establish farming and fishing as means of livelihood and basic sustenance. In September AAI added a new component to the rebuilding of western Visayas -- support to schools to keep youths away from drug addiction and to assist the police to reduce violence in the country-wide war on drugs.  AAI's Coordinator in Visayas, Nurse Faith Omel Dela Torre also works with the national police on the coastal Sebaste District, a frontline of the government's anti-drug campaign.  "We are coordinating with the police to distribute books, classroom supplies and games in isolated public schools,"  Nurse Faith explains.  

"The Sebaste police station officers would like to thank AAI for the generosity. The program is titled, "Oplan Ikaaram sang Kabaataan"... Ikaaram means knowledge and kabataan means children.  Everyone is very happy that AAI is part of this initiative of PNP [Philippine National Police].”

We have made great progress, in large part due to the kindness of Global Giving donors.  We are preparing for one more year of transition programs until Christmas of 2017.  Our goal is for these hard working comunities to get fully back on their feet.  We humbly ask you to join us through your ongoing support to build our school-based programs in Duenas and Capiz into Global Models of Excellence for Natural Disaster Recovery.  

Grandma teaches Moms for big crowd at school lunch
Grandma teaches Moms for big crowd at school lunch
Amazing school garden, Angub Elementary, Capiz
Amazing school garden, Angub Elementary, Capiz
Moms and Dads serve school lunch
Moms and Dads serve school lunch
AAI School Library at Aurora-Araneta ES, Duenas
AAI School Library at Aurora-Araneta ES, Duenas
Girl Scout Jamboree in Batad, Iloilo
Girl Scout Jamboree in Batad, Iloilo
Cuartero Natl HS Championship badmitton team
Cuartero Natl HS Championship badmitton team
Celebrating Natl Teachers Day at Aurora-Araneta ES
Celebrating Natl Teachers Day at Aurora-Araneta ES

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Children enjoy school lunch in Cuartero
Children enjoy school lunch in Cuartero

The 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is considered the most devasting storm in recorded history. Some 9 million people were rendered homeless and hundreds of schools and clean water systems were destroyed. As we approach the third annivertsary, many communities and schools are still in recovery. Many international organizations intervened with million of dollars worth of emergency aid, but today only a few outsiders remain on-site and continue to assist the rebuilding of broken lives. Asia America Initiative learned valuable lessons about supporting a transition from charity to self-reliance at the community level as the key to sustainable development. This has been made possible by the generoisty provided by our many private Global Giving donors and a small number of non-governmental foundations. 

The emphasis of Asia America Initiative has been to support clean water systems and vegetable gardens, utilizing public schools as non-partisan community centers. Our goal, with the input from community leaders is to make a transition from emergency relief to self-reliance based on local enterprise and volunteerism within a 4 year period [Christmas Season 2014].  "Our community never expected such generosity and has truly appreciated the loyalty and substantial improvements in the eduction and health conditions of our children," says Principal Luz Roxas Mayo of Angub Elementary School in the rural hillside farning community of Cuartero, Capiz that was heavily damaged by the super typhoon.  

The new 2016-17 school year began in mid-June. Already at least 10 schools with more than 2,000 student kindergarden to elementary students have benefitted from AAI's partnership with Moms and Dads in Parent-Teachers Associations who are assisted by teachers and pupils to grow and cook nutritious lunches each day of the week on school grounds. Malnutrition has dropped from close to 35 percent of all students down to around 5 percent. Each school now has a water tank and wash basins to provide for adequate sanitation. The quality of drinking water has dramatically improved, reducing water-borne and mosquito related illnesses. AAI and our donor-partners are viewed as reliable friends while communities re-establish farming and fishing as means of livelihood and basic sustenance. "The parents really cooperate," says Principal Rowena Ortizo at Catig-Lacadon Elementary school, "Because they know their kids like to go to school to enjoy their delicious lunch.... From the bottom of our hearts, the kids wish you and your partners' families many blessings."

School Garden Angub Elementary School
School Garden Angub Elementary School
A happy meal at Angub Elementary School
A happy meal at Angub Elementary School

Links:

Children, teachers and parents serve lunch
Children, teachers and parents serve lunch

One of the most heartwarming activities of Asia America Initiative in the Philippines has been the rebuilding and special care to the water, hygiene and nutritional conditions of children in rural areas who were largely invisible to the outside world. Parents, teachers and school children have been willing to conduct the “sweat equity” needed for the physical rebuilding. AAI’s local staff members have demonstrated unceasing care and commitment to their neighbors. The roles of GlobalGiving’s administrators and hundreds of ordinary people who have sent donations, have made our sustainability possible.

We have made a choice to remain at least one more year to ensure people’s self-confidence that they can carry-on.  During the first quarter of 2016, AAI expanded our programs related to clean water, hygiene, school-based gardens and daily feeding program cooked by the Moms. Principal Luz Mayo Roxas says, “The community of Angub Elementary School is very happy for the gifts they continue to receive. Although many outside groups have departed the rebuilding effort, AAI’s programs have become stronger. This summer, there will be a group of parents to help our school to make it clean and to prepare a 3.6 hectare vegetable garden. They have started planting. They are cooperative and happy to serve. Thank you very much GlobalGiving for the great help you've extended. Your donor supporters should know that their kindness is a great motivator.”

On behalf of those who have benefitted and from the many incredible lessons we have learned about “doing more with less,” AAI staff who hail from Thailand, China, Japan, Connecticut and Virginia have found the way through shared commitment to assisting others, even 10,000 miles away. In the words of one of our staff volunteers, “We all have our dreams of how the world should be. Life can be unfair at times, but when people extend that one more step that can lead to success for the common good, the distance to achieving our ideals doesn’t seem that long.”

outdoor kitchen at Catig lacadon Elementary
outdoor kitchen at Catig lacadon Elementary
Home cooking by Moms at Catig Lacadon Elementary
Home cooking by Moms at Catig Lacadon Elementary
Second helping for growing children of fresh soup
Second helping for growing children of fresh soup
Eating in Class at Angub Elementary
Eating in Class at Angub Elementary

Links:

a  happy lunch Moms at Carataya Elmentary
a happy lunch Moms at Carataya Elmentary

In 2015 Asia America Initiative continued to save or improve the lives of thousands of survivors of the massive Typhoon Haiyan.  Many communities we serve, with the support of our Global Giving donors, had been abandoned by their own government or had most of their international support move on to other crises in the world. 

The following letters describe our achievements and what remains to be accomplished in 2016 through our division of labor to empower local communities to help themselves.  

We surpassed our goals for this year, starting with  providing tools and seeds to create gardens at 12 schools with a population of close to 8,000 students.  

We  provided  20,000 new library story books, text books and teachers manuals and student work books to more than twenty elementary, high schools, colleges and vocational schools.

We provided scholarships to more than 14 students whose families would not have been able to pay for their education.

We provided new medical equipment, weighing scales and first aid supplies to 10 school clinics.

We provide daily home-cooked  lunches with vegetables harvested from school gardens by PTA mothers at 30 elementary schools where malnutrition and tropical illnesses are rampant.  This amounts to 8,000 students for 4 meals per week x 6 months = 192,000 meals.  

We have assisted more than 10 elementary, high schools and colleges with clean water and hygiene systems.

Department of Education

Region VI – Western Visayas
District of Cuartero
December 10, 2015

Professor ALBERT SANTOLI
President -Asia America Initiative Inc.

      A warm Christmas Greeting!

           Two years had passed that Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit Cuartero in November 8,  2013 and almost everything were severely damaged.  Especially the schools which are considered the second home of the school children were devastated by the typhoon. Most school children in this region had no  food, clothing and their homes destroyed – the most  basic needs of my school’s 250 children were lost.

         As Maindang Elementary School Principal I desired that somebody could assist our needs since we had no more books to read, no sports materials to play with, no sandals to wear, no school stage to hold our activities, and most of all very little food to eat.  This was serious because we already had a lot of malnourished and severely wasted children.

           Prayer changes things.  Out of no where  the Asia America Initiative was heaven sent through Albert Santoli, a kindhearted man who was recovering from a serious illness and a supporter of children he never met. 

            In connection to the above experiences, we Maindang Elementary School children, parents, teaching staff, Our  Community would like to express our gratitude for the aid extended by Asia America Initiative and your donors . We will pray always that our association will continue to grow in sharing not only material things but a real spirit of friendship and kindness. Thank you very much.

            More power and God Bless.

           Signed: Principal LUZ ROXAS MAYO

           School Principal

We intend to continue rebuilding schools such as Maiundang Elementary in 2016.  We also plan to add schools which have not yet been adequately assisted and where children continue to suffer, including walking a mile or two on rugged mountain roads to attend school each day either barefoot or with rubber sandals breaking apart.  Here is a report from one such school, Angub Elementary, by AAI head nurse Faith dela Torre:

FAITH DELA TORRE, RN

ASIA AMERICA INITIATIVE

Dear Sir:

Last Friday I visited Angub ES, in rural Visayas. There are 240 students and 25 of them are IP's [Indigenous tribes] 39 of them belong to severely malnourished students including the IP's. The school is situated near the town but in the upland part of Cuartero Capiz. the road is cemented already so they are not hard to reach like in Carataya. from the town proper it takes 10 minutesdriving [2 miles] to reach the school. Most of the children  belong to the indigent families. Most of their parents are working as household helpers and only a few are working on the farm. As I observe children are very small as to their grade level or age.

The school is also a recipient of  DepEd school feeding, but only those few children who are classified as severely wasted. There is a problem with this because all of the IP's are included in the feeding because when they are weighed they arre classified as normal. but I do not believe the children are normal because when I saw them they are thin and skinny. I told principal  that  their weighing scale that they used is not accurate. because they used only an old bathroom type of weighing scale.

The school has no Library and no clinic.They have a few books and no medical supplies. They are also victims of typhoon Haiyan but they we're lucky compared to Carataya because their school building roof and walls were fixed immediately because may be they are near in the town.  While  Carataya is in remote area. The school utilizes one the classroom for their books that AAI donated. Their kindergarten classroom lacks toys and books.

 The teachers are  looking forward for whatever help that we can extend to their school sir. We plan to give some AAI stuffed toys and books for their school this week.

God bless you.

 

FAITH OMEL DELA TORRE, AAI, RN

 Dear  Friends, Our work continues. Please remember that all donations sent to AAI through Global Giving for this project will be doubled.  We appreciate your support.  Happy Holidays to all.  

a 6th grade pupil helps Mom prepare school lunch
a 6th grade pupil helps Mom prepare school lunch
4th grade students serve lunch to classmates
4th grade students serve lunch to classmates
champion athletes at Bulak Elementary
champion athletes at Bulak Elementary
performance at Catig-Lacadon Elementary
performance at Catig-Lacadon Elementary
high school volunteers pack donations for schools
high school volunteers pack donations for schools
New books at Cuartero High School from AAI
New books at Cuartero High School from AAI

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Organization Information

Asia America Initiative

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.asiaamerica.org/​
Project Leader:
Albert Santoli
Washington, DC United States
$68,162 raised of $80,000 goal
 
455 donations
$11,838 to go
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