In the Philippines, religious conflict and natural disasters have caused suffering for millions of Filipino children. This program empowers elementary schools in regions where children are victims of natural and man-made disasters. Inter-faith education equity and building school communities as "one family" teaches students and parents the value of cooperation and diversity. We provide books, school supplies, garden tools, clean water, and hygiene soaps. We structure each school as a "Peace Zone" by supporting literacy, livelihood, gardening, and school lunches cooked by volunteer parents to enhance progress and cooperation between all members of a village or neighborhood with the elementary schools serving as mediation centers.
Our "One School/One Family" partnership program assists children in Asia America Initiative supported elementary schools in Sulu and Visayas regions. They are overcoming extreme poverty and communal violence through integrated literacy, livelihood skills, and health support. We have created a social media network for Muslim and Christian educators and children to share their new skills, hopes, and dreams. Mothers and fathers of pupils assist teachers to plant gardens, repair classrooms and cook daily meals at the schools. In turn, Asia America Initiative provides thousands of books, school supplies, garden tools, and clean water systems supported by ordinary people in the US, the Philippines and around the world through Global Giving. Rather than dependency on government officials, who are often not involved, we structure our programs with local and global humanitarian organizations, inter-faith religious groups and coordinate through educational institutions such as Mindanao State University in Jolo and Notre Dame College of Jolo. The results of these efforts builds community resiliency, independent enterprise and human progress step-by-step.
At Manilop Elementary School in rural Indanan District on Jolo island, school principal Zarr, states: "With our school gardens, in addition to improving children's nutrition, we also create a small agribusiness to purchase needed school supplies. As schools try to have the best gardens, that creates peaceful competition between schools as well. Some pupils who were irresponsible in taking care their plants became motivated to do their tasks by seeing other children grow beautiful and healthy plants.
"This is very nice!! Many kids may not go to college or high school. So our gardening teachers are their life mentors too. Between student government and school-based agribusiness is a positive direction for community development. We sell at the market and re-invest 10 percent in seeds so the kids get the idea about budget and business investment without debt."
Principal Merhama of Salih Yusah, an urban elementary school, speaks for most of the school heads, "We are very grateful for the support from outside donors. We are also thankful for having supportive stakeholders who providing us fence wire for the school perimeter. With that our plants won't be eaten by the animals in the surrounding forests."
Thank you, thank you very much to everyone! Hopefully we can continue all of these efforts into the future."
Students across the Phillippines are returning to school in June. AAI supported school children are given supplies in both Visayas and Sulu. Shipping of supplies began in April and arrived in time for the new school year.
AAI's program assists 20,000 children in elementary schools in Sulu and Visayas, Philippines. AAI with assistance from school teachers, staff, the local fire department and volunteers gather to unbox and distribute supplies and books to schools. Those schools will then, in turn, schedule distribution days for children to receive the items as the school year begins. Students who can not afford supplies are often embarrassed to go to school without them and our program provides a festive atmosphere in which all children can participate. Everyone involved feels a sense of pride and community. We thank you for your donations which help to make these events such a success.
The program empowers elementary schools in regions where children are victims of natural and man-made disasters. Families are often Internally Displaced due to these factors and children will then attend neighboring schools if they are able. Having supplies on hand is welcoming and the school can give without burden on their resources.
Inter-faith education equity teaches students the value of cooperation and diversity. We have created a social media network for Muslim and Christian educators and children to share their new skills, hopes, and dreams. AAI provides books, school supplies, clean water and hygiene. We support literacy, livelihood, gardening, and school lunches cooked by volunteer parents to enhance progress and peace.
If you would like to continue your support with our long term project, monthly contributions are a great way to budget. GlobalGiving is giving a 100% match for new recurring donations - you can double your impact! Follow the link and select the Donate Now button. Be sure to toggle to "monthly" if you are interested in a recurring donation.
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Thank you for your help in providing to these children and communities. Asia America Initiative serves as a communication bridge for action.
"One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world," says Catig-Lacadon Elementary School Principal Mrs. Rowena... explaining how her small mountain-top school became a finalist for the most productive educational facility in Iloilo Province in the Visayas Region of the Philippines. "It has taken years of consistent partnership effort and love shown to our pupils by Professor Santoli and Asia America Initiative and their kind donors from the United States and around the world," she states. "The beauty of AAI's programs is that they show equal consideration and respect to Christian, Muslim and Mountain Tribe Filipinos without any type of discrimination."
During the five years Asia America Initiative has been involved with schools like Catig-Lacadon, following the most destructive typhoon in recorded history which nearly flattened the school's buildings, some amazing developments have occurred. The children of Catig-Lacadon are sons and daughters of impoverished agricultural workers who don't own the land they work, often planting corn used for animal feed straight up mountain sides. They often lack adequate food to feed their children more than one light meal per day. With the help of GlobalGiving donors, AAI has been providing facilities for clean rain water, daily lunches at no charge to students and cooked by mothers, hygiene soaps and dental supplies. In classrooms, more than 500 text books and fun story books have been provided. The academic performance of students has dramatically improved.
"After Super Typhoon Yolanda, our students and their parents are so surprised to to see foreigners such as AAI with their local partners come all the way to the Philippines to make sure we are safe and being taken care of," recalls Principal Rowena.
In the Philippines southernmost province, Sulu, in Muslim Mindanao, AAI has been in the schools since 2002 and has shared the hopes, dreams, fears and laughter of the local Muslim, Christian and sea gypsy [Samar] populations. When intermittent conflicts end, AAI's mission is to help local communities get back to normal as soon as possible. Learning from our Visayas programs, AAI sponsored schools are provided with lunch to begin to heal wounds following any incident and bring the teachers and students back to school as a neutral "safe space." Christian and Muslim educators are close knit in Sulu and when AAI Muslims visit Visayas, similar bonds between teachers are created.
Teacher Tarhata is a 5th grade lead teacher in Jolo, Sulu, in a classroom of 52 pupils. Her first visit to AAI Visayas programs was in 2017. "When I first visited Visayas, I found the schools welcoming and very peaceful. I felt friendship. The Ilongo people there are really genuine and as fellow school teachers, we could see in their eyes that they are glad to be with us. They are proud to be partners with AAI in building and fulfilling their childrens' future, just as we feel in Sulu."
AAI programs now assist 25,000 children in elementary schools in Sulu and Visayas. These communities are overcoming extreme poverty, harsh climate conditions and communal violence through integrated literacy, livelihood skills, and health support. We have created a social media network between Muslim and Christian educators and children to share their new skills, hopes, and dreams. Mothers and fathers of pupils assist teachers to cook daily meals and improve school facilities. We provide thousands of books, school supplies, garden tools and fresh water systems.
We agree with Principal Rowena that, "Life is better when shared. Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver."
In 2019-20 school year, our goal is to double the number of children and school communities who benefit from these simple acts of shared love. Thank you GlobalGiving family for backing us!!
The holiday season reminds us of how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful donors through our Global Giving network. Each and every one of you is a true blessing for the nearly 1,000 children who benefit from this peace and development program.
In 2014, we created this project to bring together Christian and Muslim children in need. Thus far, we have assisted close to 10,000 children in elementary schools in Sulu and Visayas regions of the Philippines. The children continue to overcome extreme poverty, natural disasters and communal violence via clean water and improved daily nutrition, thanks to your support.
The founder and headmaster of Sahaya Integrated Madrasa elementary school in Jolo, Sulu is Doctor Amy. She says,“The AAI-sponsored feeding program is contributing to healthy children, minimal daily absences of pupils, a zero dropout rate and above average academic performance – by children who live in some of the most impoverished household conditions. Mothers and fathers of pupils assist teachers to cook daily meals. We and AAI have a partnership to provide school supplies, garden tools, garden seeds, and pipes for fresh water."
Many thanks to Asia America Initiative donors who have supported our vision of peace through social/economic progress. Most importantly, the ongoing support for this program year after year allows the chance for a true transformation built through community dignity and cooperation.
On July 24, 2018, a massive fire in Jolo, Sulu burned for 8 hours in the port and market areas that were crowded with wooden shacks and a number of school buildings. More than 3,000 homes that housed over 5,000 large families were burned to the ground, displacing some 30,000 people.
Immediately, Asia America Initiative team members helped first responders and inter-faith humanitarian groups, such as Notre Dame College of Jolo, to provide emergency aid and support to survivors. Massive amounts of food, water and medicine were needed in the make-shift evacuations centers - including AAI supported schools that became emergency shelters. The centers were provided with food, clothing, soap, clean water, mats, medicine, fans, hygiene products, and toys for the children by AAI and other international donors.
In a display of unity, AAI school communities in the Christian region of Visayas spontaneously began a clothing drive to send to AAI Muslim volunteers helping displaced families on the southern island of Sulu.
Students at Angub Elementary and Cuartero National High School gathered and boxed clothing to send. Arrangements were made with Philippine Airlines who donated cargo space to fly supplies into Sulu.
Students brought in their personal clothing to school and worked together to box, tape, label and send the belongings to Sulu's displaced children.
One month into the recovery, AAI’s support for fire victims in Jolo is ongoing, as they begin to rebuild homes and their futures.
"We are amazed by the response of good samaritans from outside of our region," says Dr. Merhama, an elementary school principal who had many students whose families lost their homes in the fire. "It was a shock that such an overwhelming tragedy could happen so quickly, with no time for any of us to prepare. The willingness to partner by AAI, Notre Dame, Muslim student associations and donors from overseas is a true example of how very different people can make a positive impact in this world."
We are very proud of our Muslim and Christian students in Sulu and Visayas for caring about each other. Multicultural AAI communities exemplify the best qualities of who we are as a representative of the spirit of cooperation that has led to GlobalGiving community's success.
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