Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water

by Asia America Initiative
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water
Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water

Project Report | Nov 20, 2017
Muslim and Christian Teachers Share Best Methods

By Al Santoli | Project leader

Muslim teacher shares fun with Christian Children
Muslim teacher shares fun with Christian Children

In October 2017, I was aboard an airplane to the Christian inhabited Panay Island, in the Philippines which is in the fourth year of recovery from massive destruction caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. I was accompanied by public school teachers, including Jamila from Sulu Province, a 5th grade teacher of Muslim heritage.  She nervously cried and voiced her concerns. She feared that ethnic Ilongo Christian teachers and children would fear and consider her a "terrorist" or "bad person" because it would be the first such meeting and skills exchange between Christian and Muslim teachers who are connected through programs created by Asia America Initiative.  I was confident that her fears would be unfounded because all of our schools -- whether Christian or Muslim -- shared a commitment to a better life for their children.  The role of AAI members are peace builders who "bridge between cultures."  The results of our first "bridge" meeting were truly inspiring.

Building peace and preventing hostility between neighbors of diverse cultures and religions in many countries often begins in the public schools, which can become de facto "zones of peace." Although teachers are targeted for murder or kidnapping by terror groups such as al Qaeda or ISIS, in many places the every day struggle is against dire poverty, hunger and lack of social justice. To create neutral environments we incorporate security, effective social progress and fun activities for kids, in order to lure kids away from violence, extremism  and drugs.

In AAI partner schools, as part of the public school system, children of all factions and economic sectors of a community sit in the same classrooms to develop tools that will improve their future. Parents, teachers and students work together to grow school gardens.  And Moms cook daily lunches made of nutritious local fresh foods to strengthen the childen's health and learning capacity. In addition, we purchase water tanks that catch rain to provide clean water for hygiene, including hand washing and tooth brushing.

We have chosen the Philippines as a model because it is a nation of 7,000 islands and numerous cultures with more than 100 languages spoken.  The vast archipelago has pervasive poverty and other social and health issues that create tension among the country's 100 million people. During the past ten years, these picturesque  islands have also been among the hardest hit areas of world by massive natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes and  powerful typhoon rains and wind.  In addition, the southern Mindanao region has the longest standing civil conflict in the world between native Muslim tribes and the mostly Christian national government. 

Beginning in 2002, Asia America Initiative has worked to deter prejudice and violence by demonstrating equal amounts of  humanitarian and educational support to storm devastated Christian and Muslim communities and areas terrorized by lawlessness, armed conflct and martial law in the central Visayas Region and in the southern Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.  We use innovative approaches that involve feeding the hungry, providing hygiene where clean water is difficult to access and modernizing classrooms with shipments of textbooks and school supplies. The children in these areas come from large families with parents earning less than $2 or $3 per day.

AAI has relied upon electronic communication and social media to share and discuss the various techniques and methodologies of full community support in our elementary and high school programs. This brings various families and clans together for the common good of their children's success. This October 2017 in the midst of heavy typhoon rains  AAI Director Albert Santoli had the opportunity to bring a small group of school teachers from Sulu in Muslim Mindanao from the Tausug tribe and language to Cuartero, Capiz in Visayas to exchange views and observe programs with ethnic Ilongo teachers and pupils.  The results have been inspiring and wonderful.

Things that I've learned in creating school and church recovery programs after the Great Typhoon have been applied successfully been applied  in Christian and also Muslim communities in Sulu at schools and mosques. As we walked into the school yardof Cuartero National High School, a nervous Teacher Jamilla and our Muslim delegation from Jolo was pleasantly greeted by traditional Ilongo music and folk dances. Following the colorful folk dances we first created a structured question and answer session for the hosts and visitors to  "break the ice" and get to know each other. 

All of us - Christian and Muslim -- discovered  that our mutual concerns as teachers are universal, as in any place in the world.  In 2018, Asia America Initiative seeks to expand the interaction between teachers of diverse faiths and cultures to be a foundation for peace building that can be replicated in other areas of the Philippines and other regions of the world.

We hope that our loyal donors in the GlobalGiving community and new partners who discover the benefits of our holistic educational programs will extend your support to empower our noble educators.  They deserve our support  to buiild peace in frontline areas and to overcome poverty, hunger and armed conflict.

Christian high school dancers perform in Visayas
Christian high school dancers perform in Visayas
washing hands at school in Muslim Sulu Province
washing hands at school in Muslim Sulu Province
Ilongo peewee folk dancers in Visayas
Ilongo peewee folk dancers in Visayas
hand wash facility at elementary school in Sulu
hand wash facility at elementary school in Sulu
Water tanks provided by AAI in Sulu and Visayas
Water tanks provided by AAI in Sulu and Visayas
Electronic classroom in Sulu w/ decor by teacher
Electronic classroom in Sulu w/ decor by teacher
Moms cook lunches in Sulu and Visayas schools
Moms cook lunches in Sulu and Visayas schools

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Aug 7, 2017
School Children Stand Up vs Hunger and Terror in the Philippines

By Albert Santoli | Project leader

Mar 30, 2017
Building Stronger Communities After Nature's Wrath

By Albert Santoli | Project Leader

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Organization Information

Asia America Initiative

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Albert Santoli
Washington , DC United States
$48,020 raised of $60,000 goal
 
418 donations
$11,980 to go
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