Water tank bought by AAI at Poblacion ES, Mindanao
In the Philippines, religious conflict and natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan and the increase in inter-ethnic and tribal armed conflict during 2015-16 have caused suffering of millions of Filipino children. Asia America Initiative, with local Christian, Muslim and Mountain tribal staff in the central and southern Philippines is providing essential food and water assistance, where government has failed. Thanks to GlobalGiving donors and personal friends, we are empowering elementary schools in regions where children are victims of natural and man-made disasters. Inter-faith community efforts teach students and their parents the value of cooperation. We provide clean water and hygiene tools. We support literacy, livelihood, gardening, and school lunches by parents to enhance health, economic progress and peace.
"It is an amazing process," says Principal uz Roxas at Angub Elementary School, where desperately impoverished mountain tribal children are "skinny as toothpicks." The region is struggling with a harsh period of El Nino drought and lack of rainfall, occasionally interrupted by fierce monsoon floods. As a result, fresh food is destroyed in the fields. Children lack rubber sandals and yet walk 2 to 3 miles to school each day. Mothers are cooking lunch on school premises with funds from AAI and our GlobalGiving Donors. The Catholic Filipino and mountain tribal children have formed a large extended family at the school. Two out of four top performing students this year are from tribal families.
"I cried the first time I saw the conditions of these children and how little and skinny they are," says AAI nurse Faith Omel dela Torre. Nurse Faith is a mother of two elementary school boys. She impressed on AAI Director Santoli that we needed to work extra hard to make sure these children could eat and have water tanks and hoses for sanitation and clean water for cooking and hand washing. In turn, AAI reached out to GlobalGiving's community of donors and has realized incredible results.
In the coming weeks we will tell stories about our Muslim and Christian communities in areas suffering intensive poverty, government neglect and resulting violence. Worse, there are now reports that ISIS terrorists from outside the country are trying to recruit and spread hatred. Every child we feed is a deterrent against hatred. GlobalGiving donors show them that they are not forgotten or alone. Says AAI senior nurse Elsa Bayani: "We are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends."
Filipino and HIlltribe graduates at Angub ES
Lunch at Bunot ES in Mindanao
Mom's cooking lunch at Poblacion ES, Mindanao
Hilltribe boyscout at Angub ES
Muslim students at AAI supported school , Mindanao
Filipino Catholic children at Angub ES, Visayas
Rubber Sandals Thank You Art from Our Children