Category Archives: AAI Programs

Special Education: The First Paralympics Brings Joy in Rural Capiz

In most developing communities, the acceptance of children with learning disorders or physical and mental handicaps is sadly lacking. Many of these children are restricted to their homes without access to any form of education or nurturing. Since our founding, Asia America Initiative has placed an emphasis on education equity for all children, regardless of their special needs. We have found wonderful educators in the Philippines in both Muslim and Christian communities who champion the establishment of Special Education [SPED] programs.

At the award ceremony.

In Cuartero, Capiz, the residents are both Christian and from indigenous mountain tribes. A significant special needs program is growing at Cuartero Central School, with the largest student population in the province. Asia America Initiative has strongly supported Principal Luz Roxas Mayo in setting a model that can be replicated in many other schools. In helping the children to feel accepted the SPED program includes arts and sports activities.

Cuartero Central School Special Education students are ready to race.

During the week of September 20, 2017, a Paralympics competition was conducted in nearby Tapaz, Capiz that included the Central School and a few others with similar programs. The children competed enthusiastically in various sports activities, including running, badminton and basketball. The thrill of competition and the cheering crowd of families and friends was a great experience. Mark Frugal, SPED teacher and coach for Cuartero CS, says, “We are so proud of the effort made by all of the children. They proved that our emphasis on developing a SPED Program is not only a wonderful virtue, but empowers those incredible children to prove themselves and inspire us all.”

Running like the wind.

Clean Water, WASH & Nutrition for 500 Muslim Girls

Poverty, hunger, communal violence and limited public health plague Muslim Mindanao, Philippines. Sulu Province remains near the bottom of the UN’s worldwide Human Development Index. A school-aged population of some 350,000 children are mostly impoverished and suffering from hunger. Female students are often most affected. We will assist 3 schools with a total of 500 girls to build effective clean water systems, WASH facilities and daily nutrition essential for educational progress.

Challenge

Poverty, hunger, communal violence and limited public health plague Muslim Mindanao, Philippines. Sulu Province remains near the bottom of the UN’s worldwide Human Development Index. A school-aged population of some 350,000 children are mostly impoverished and suffering from hunger. Female students are often most affected. We will assist 3 schools with a total of 500 girls to build clean water systems, WASH facilities and adequate nutrition essential for improved health and education.

Solution

We will assist 3 schools with a total of 500 girls to build clean water systems, WASH facilities and adequate nutrition through school lunches cooked by volunteer mothers and grandmothers which are essential for improved health and education. With improved water delivery at each school, we will encourage the expansion of school-based gardens to provide fresh foods at each school.

Long-Term Impact

The long-term positive impact of this program empowers Christian and Muslim communities to learn from each other through their respective best practices. Asia America Initiative serves as a communication bridge. Our social media networks facilitate transparent communication and dispel fear and myths that alienate communities who feel alone and abandoned. Centered in schools, positive interaction and equal treatment of various cultural groups by AAI facilitates mutual respect and inspiration.

Click to Donate*

*Donations to AAI are used for expenses required in field programs as designated by each donor. Management of each program may require that 10 percent of a donation is used for administrative needs.

Unite Inter-Faith Children via Education and Water

In the Philippines, religious conflict and natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan during 2013-15 have caused suffering of millions of Filipino children. This program empowers elementary schools in regions where children are victims of natural and man-made disasters. Inter-faith community efforts teach students 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.

Challenge

Poverty, storms and inter-cultural violence are abundant in the Philippines. A school-aged population of more than 65 million children and youths are mostly impoverished and malnourished. Sulu Province with a majority Muslim population remains at the bottom of the UN’s worldwide Human Development Index. Christian communities in Visayas are still recovering after Typhoon Haiyan. In both regions, few schools have books, clean water, adequate nutrition and lack basic tools for livelihood training.

Solution

This program will assist 1,000 children in two elementary schools in Sulu and Visayas. They will overcome extreme poverty and communal violence, through integrated literacy, livelihood skills, and health support. We will create a social media network for Muslim and Christian educators and children to share their new skills, hopes, and dreams. Mothers and fathers of pupils will assist teachers to cook daily meals. We will provide school supplies, garden tools, seeds, and pipes for fresh water.

Long-Term Impact

The long-term positive impact of this program empowers Christian and Muslim communities to learn from each other through their respective best practices. Asia America Initiative serves as a communication bridge. Our social media networks facilitate transparent communication and dispel fear and myths that alienate communities who feel alone and abandoned. Starting in schools, positive interaction and equal treatment of various cultural groups by AAI facilitates mutual respect and inspiration.

Click to Donate*

*Donations to AAI are used for expenses required in field programs as designated by each donor. Management of each program may require that 10 percent of a donation is used for administrative needs.

Nutrition for 200 Children with Rare Diseases

AAI supports the medical care of children in the Philippines suffering from cancer and rare genetic diseases. Beyond specialized intravenous medications, these children require extra nutrition supplements, medication for symptoms and side effects, and toys. This program provides 6 months of nutrition support and essential supplemental medication for their healing and survival [$400 per month]. We also support their creativity and holistic health by supporting their participation in the arts!

Challenge

Poverty and hardship around the world prevents the treatment of many diseases. This is even more pronounced with rare genetic diseases which can cost tens of thousands of dollars per treatment. Especially in poor regions of the world, this prevents treatment from reaching those who need it. Just as important is supporting the holistic health of children suffering from these rare diseases. Over the years AAI has worked to give hope and healing to these loving children.

Solution

This project focuses on the needs of children in the Philippines suffering from rare genetic diseases. They receive specialized medical treatments, but they also need the extra supplies required to enhance their treatments, support their physical growth, and strengthen their will to beat their illnesses. This project will support these needs for 6 months. This includes: supplemental medications to treat symptoms and side effects, the nutritional support for growing children, and art supplies.

Long-Term Impact

This program is a model of donor kindness and social responsibility. By surviving and experiencing hope, these children and their parents inspire their neighbors and communities. This program also supports the holistic needs of these children and their parents, strengthening entire families and demonstrating that each challenge must be faced together. Particularly in regions where violent conflict, corruption, and illness are rampant, a little hope makes a world of difference.

Click to Donate*

*Donations to AAI are used for expenses required in field programs as designated by each donor. Management of each program may require that 10 percent of a donation is used for administrative needs.

Cancer treatment for 20 children and 30 women

In 2014, 49 of our first 50 patients in Manila became cancer free. We are now adding Hope Center in Davao, Mindanao to help doctors provide life saving medicines and nutrition for 400 additional children with cancer and the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders in manila for 100 children with genetic diseases, whose families earn less than $5 per day. The program includes nutrition, art supplies, story books and toys to instill positive attitudes, love and care.

Challenge

People in much of the under-developed world, such as the Philippines, are unable to afford medical care for life-threatening diseases or access to life-saving medicines. Quality medical care does not exist, and travel to specialized clinics is too expensive. In addition, severe poverty and malnutrition afflict more than 60% of the population. Healing from cancer involves more than medicine; it requires a more positive and joyful attitude which is difficult to develop in impoverished communities.

Solution

Our partner hospitals provide cancer medication free of charge in a systematic manner, we compliment that by giving the children undergoing cancer treatment nutrition to fully recover, increase their lifespan and receive education and hope for the future. This is especially important for young children who need care and guidance. For child patients, our art programs conducted in hospital wards build a joyful attitude to embrace life and value education to enhance their healing process.

Long-Term Impact

This program is an international model of donor kindness and corporate social responsibility. By surviving, and experiencing hope, the multi-ethnic children inspire their neighbors in large ghetto communities. Adult literacy and education will enable surviving women to provide better lives for their families. For children living in dire poverty the influence of violent crime and militant extremism is a constant temptation. This holistic program can empower entire communities to have hope.

Click to Donate*

*Donations to AAI are used for expenses required in field programs as designated by each donor. Management of each program may require that 10 percent of a donation is used for administrative needs.

Support a New Year of Life for baby Brielle

In the Philippines, 4-year old Brielle needs a liver transplant surgery to save her life from a rare illness. The surgery will be conducted in a Taiwan hospital specializing in children’s diseases. Her doctors say, without this surgery in early 2017, it is unlikely that Brielle can survive. Half of the cost has been donated by local charities. AAI, through GlobalGiving donors, has raised $4,200 to help pay the surgery costs. Now we must raise $8,500 for post-surgical medicines and care.

Challenge

Four year old Brielle is battling a rare disease which has destroyed her liver. To survive she needs a liver transplant in early 2017. She has a donor — her mother. Doctors at a children’s hospital in Taiwan who specialize in sensitive pediatric surgeries believe she can survive. The surgery has been donated by local charities and AAI and our GlobalGiving donors. Our goal is to cover the estimated cost of essential post-surgical medicines, which is $8,500.

Solution

By raising a total of $8,500 through AAI our GlobalGiving donor network, we will help cover the cost of immune-suppressant medicines needed for Brielle’s Mom’s transplanted liver to adjust to Brielle’s body. Our action encourages support from more local partners, such as the Philippine Airline Foundation who are donating transportation. Brielle’s recovery will be a message of hope to be shared around the world in support of similar children and their families.

Long-Term Impact

This program is a model of donor kindness and corporate social responsibility. At a time of much disharmony and rampant suffering across the world, Baby Brielle’s survival will give people hope that every life matters. Her mother who will provide part of her own ‘matching” liver for the transplant, says, “We believe miracles can happen. Each funder is a miracle for our little girl.” To raise the needed funds would be an inspiring New Year “gift of life.”

Click to Donate*

*Donations to AAI are used for expenses required in field programs as designated by each donor. Management of each program may require that 10 percent of a donation is used for administrative needs.

Where News Is Scarce: Little Journalists Tell The Story

In the war zone of Indanan, Sulu where news is scarce and many residents live in fear, a small group of 5th and 6th grade journalists at Bunot Elementary School have the courage and passion to tell their community’s story via their own Internet blogs.  Sometimes the stories are fun and encouraging for a community struggling against difficult odds  –  no books, clean water and often no electricity in their school.  Yet, teachers, school nurses and students trek to school each day looking to learn something new.

The Lanking Blog was created in 2016 in the small school’s complex of 151 students and 6 teachers, including their journalism mentor, are located along a paved country road.  During recent military operations to rescue hostages held by extremists in the surrounding hillsides, the school was temporarily suspended when close to 300 families fled from neighboring villages and created a camp in the school building and surrounding schoolyard.

Bunot Elementary is one of AAI’s adopted schools in Sulu.  AAI Director Al Santoli met the children, their parents and teachers and local officials when he visited Sulu on September 7, 2016.  The mission that day was to bring emergency supplies to destitute displaced families at Bunot Elementary.  Members of the journalist team were in the forefront of the delegation taking photos and asking questions for a future blog.  When we visited the Mayor of Indanan… you guessed it…  the irrepressible little journalists were right there with the grown-ups.  They were getting the story the old fashioned way, with a pen and notepad.   After an event takes place, they organize an editorial meeting in a classroom to write and proofread the blog and relevant photos before posting it via a cellphone onto the internet.

As a symbol of our support for these determined new members of the “Fourth Estate,” AAI provided them with a new laptop computer and a copier-printer to enable them to print their stories to hand to fellow students, as well as enhance their computer literacy.

It is young students like the Lanking Bloggers who have the potential to transform battlefields into fields of dreams.  We encourage these types of inspirational child to child communications programs that will play a transformative roll within their communities.

Click to Donate*

*Donations to AAI are used for expenses required in field programs as designated by each donor. Management of each program may require that 10 percent of a donation is used for administrative needs.

Toys for 4,000 child cancer patients in Davao

First time visitors to House of Hope in the garden city of Davao  in the southern Philippines have difficulty holding back their tears. Located in the Mindanao region of some 24 million people — Christians, Muslims and mountain tribal groups –it is the only such medical facility that can provide healing care to children afflicted with various types of cancer.  Each week the overcrowded facility alternates treatment groups of 300 child patients and their families.  The current patient load undergoing chemotherapy and other forms of treatment is over 4,000 patients.  It is a healing center built on great love and near super-human dedication of a handful of qualified medical specialists. But conditions can be devastating, with patients and their families sleeping on the outside grounds and the floor of general activity rooms and the actual wards where children are hooked up to intravenous tubes stuffed in 100 degree [F] heat covered with exhausted bodies.

High school and college volunteers try to bring food so parents who have spent all available funds to travel to Davao have at least a little something to eat.  When our colleagues, Dr. Yolanda Stern and Pidot Villocino at One World Institute told Asia America Initiative of this situation, it felt like a mule’s kick to our gut.  Even though our budget is stretched beyond thin due to nutritional care we are providing to the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders in Manila and raising funds to help “Baby Brielle” get a life- saving liver transplant surgery in Taiwan.  All the while we are trying to stop ISIS recruitment and terror  in southern Mindanao by improving education and livelihood.  But we could not say, “No.”  We have used professional skills learned in Global Giving’s Spring and Summer webinars to prioritize, budget and intensify our fundraising programs via social media.

As a result, we have already provided comforting stuffed toy animals for over 200 cancer patients…  we are now raising funds for one toy for each of the 4,000 patients, all of whom live in dire poverty.  Toys cost around $2 or 90 pesos per piece in local markets. In addition, an incredible coalition of small-town churches who partner with AAI in the Pennsylvania-Maryland and West Virginia area of the United States is donating large boxes of toys that will cost around $2,300 to ship from Virginia to Davao. Our goal is to assure each child has a comforting toy to assist in their healing before Christmas season begins.

Speaking from the Children’s Cancer and Blood Disease Unit at the hospital next door to House of Hope, Pidot Villocino of OWI, who also monitors activities for AAI, says, “First time visitors to House of Hope cannot hold back their tears.  300 kids cycle through treatment here each week. The isolation ward in the Children’s Wing is full.  The operating rooms are always full.  Thank God for our teen volunteers who drop in to bring food paid for by their own allowances from their parents.  They also unwrap little cooking sets for patients’ families and coloring books, crayons, toy trucks and stuffed cuddly animals provided by AAI and their USA donors.”

“It is our hope that the stuffed animals can, somehow, ease the pain these kids are going through….  Every time I tag along on these visits, I think, ‘Who am I to complain?’  Thank you Asia America Initiative, your donors and all those people who send their prayers.”

Good Food = Happy Children & Great Schools

Poverty, storms and inter-cultural violence are abundant in the Philippines. A school-aged population of more than 65 million children and youths are mostly impoverished and malnourished. Sulu Province with a majority Muslim population remains at the bottom of the UN’s worldwide Human Development Index. Christian communities in Visayas are still recovering after Typhoon Haiyan. In both regions, few schools have books, clean water, adequate nutrition and lack basic tools for livelihood training. Asia America Initiative works in both provinces with a special emphasis on nutrition and clean water, no matter if a child is Christian or Muslim. We are a model building bridges through positive action at community level.

This program is began by assisting 1,000 children in two elementary schools in Sulu and in Visayas.  We overcome 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 will assist teachers to cook daily meals. We will provide school supplies, garden tools, seeds, and pipes for fresh water.  When necessary, AAI staff rolls up our sleeves and works the land and plants seeds of fresh food and hope alongside our beneficiaries — who are also our friends.

The long-term positive impact of this program empowers Christian and Muslim communities to learn from each other through their respective best practices. Asia America Initiative serves as a communication bridge. Our social media networks facilitate transparent communication and dispel fear and myths that alienate communities who feel alone and abandoned. The program has been expanded from 2 to 4 elementary schools with a total population of nearly 2,000 children.

“We are receiving requests from many additional schools,” states Nurse Shareen Mariwa, Head Nurse of the Department Education in Sulu, Muslim Mindanao. “We need to extend our partnership programs as we have already met our early goals last year. This is because of the confidence community leaders and parents have that there is more help coming from the AAI through your friendship.  No matter our homelands and language, we work best when it is for the interest of others.  The success of our schools and wellbeing of the children are the results.”

We extend deep gratitude to GlobalGiving and our donor community.

Equal Opportunity for Muslim Girls

Editor: Jordan Cain

A large percentage of the world’s Muslim women and girls are denied the opportunity to receive a quality education to progress their professional goals. The School of Nursing in Sulu State College in the Philippines, has provided an opportunity for livelihood and public service by women. Asia America Initiative’s program “Support 50 Muslim Girls to Become Nurses” is a global model for equal opportunity. At the school, AAI has provided textbooks, clinical materials, and school supplies to aid students in their studies. We have seen a dramatic turnaround in performance. In 2011-13, only 30% of students attending the School of Nursing passed the national license exam. With Asia America Initiative’s support providing necessary school textbooks and supplies, we are proud to say that in November of 2015, 84% of graduating students passed the national nursing exam. The students of Sulu State College act as models demonstrating the capabilities of women worldwide.

Read our full report on GlobalGiving website.