Globally, Muslim women have lacked educational opportunities to benefit their communities. This program began in Sulu Province, Philippines in 2015. Our goal was to provide 50 female students with a quality education in order to launch their nursing careers. Sulu is comprised of 19 island districts, with a population of close to 1 million people, and is served by only 16 medical doctors. Nurses are the framework of public health. Thus far, AAI has helped some 225 young women to become nurses.
Muslim females of all ages around the world lack the opportunity to receive a quality education and to develop professional skills to remedy the health, social, and economic needs of their communities. In the Philippines, Sulu State College, Mindanao State University, Notre Dame College, and Fatima University can provide such opportunities for Muslim girls. However, in Mindanao, the schools are surrounded by high poverty and communal violence. Students struggle to complete their studies.
Each semester, we support up to 50 additional female nursing students with basic educational needs, classroom materials, graduation fees, and the cost of licensing exams. These young women demonstrate the potential success for Muslim women around the world. As healthcare providers, the nurses will provide vital services to all community members and expand the employment base in one of the most economically deprived areas of the world. They are also positive symbols for local youth.
The nursing programs in Sulu are a beacon of hope for the entire community. Our goal is to build a quality health system accessible to all. Supported by AAI, Sulu State College Nursing students are now performing among the top 20 percent of all such schools in the Philippines - compared to a 30 percent student pass-rate in national nursing exams six years ago. AAI has helped support the successful licensing of some 225 new nurses in Sulu. As peacebuilders, we must now sustain this success.
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