In the Philippines today, in the last weeks of 2016, tension is mounting between Muslim and Christian communities fueled by a war on drugs by the government which has claimed an estimated 6,000 lives and has fueled a climate of vigilante reprisals throughout the country. In addition, a confused peace process between the government and rebel armed groups has left the potential for true peace and social/ economic progress in peril. More than 150,000 people - at least half are infants and children -- are internally displaced from their homes due to rebel attacks and military operations. Another 126,000 are displaced after their homes were destroyed in recent devastating typhoon storms. Basic human needs such as clean water and basic nutrition remain in a state of peril. As a result, Asia America initiative has stepped up the pace of our work to build cooperation and shared reconstruction between people of all faiths and cultures.
Asia America Initiative operates in some of the most deprived and violent areas of the Philippines. Our message of mediation and building for a better future is based on total community involvement. Our centers of peace and self-reliance are through local "Models of Excellence and Peace" public and private schools, which are usually politically neutral and cater to all families in the school district. We provide modest funds to jump-start and sustain programs emphasizing food, clean water and educational books and classroom supplies. Parents and local residents add to our funding for materials and provide the volunteer labor needed to repair damaged facilities, grow, school gardens and Moms cook school lunches. School nurses train "Mini-Nurses" in 5th and 6th grade to be all around helpers of their fellow students.
Last November 25, 2016, the School Supervisor of Indanan District, Mr Moore Ladjahali coordinated with AAI to instruct school heads and nurses how equal distribution of AAI first aid medicines assistance would be distributed to 18 elementary schools in Indanan South District. Supervisor Moore says: "At the meeting the school nurses expressed appreciation and gratitude for the unselfish adoption of AAI for all schools in the District without bias or prejudice. To assure success of the program, certain requirements must be followed like the designation of authorized persons to receive the funds, usually school heads or school nurses. The purspose of the requirements are to officially identify the total number of learners actually enrolled in the schools so that equal distribution of the first aid medicines would be realized. For accountability and oversight, either the school head or school nurse may receive the monetary assistance and keep records on the number of children who are attended to.”
During the last week of 2016, in order to expand our “Peace Zones” that surround each school, we ask for our donors and new friends to please consider our efforts to set an example of hope and cooperation. Providing children with adequate food, basic health needs and clean water is a great first step! We thank you for your previous support. May you all be blessed in 2017.
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