2017 Recap: Over 1800 Children Impacted!

2017 was a year of reaching more children in the Philippines and India.  It was also a year of learning and growing for our team.  We are grateful to everyone who has supported and partnered with us to make this happen! Below are a few 2017 highlights.  

 

A Better Chance Foundation

We sponsored another class of 11 students from A Better Chance (ABC) foundation totaling 23 students in the Philippines to attend high school and earn their diploma in the next couple of years.  Our team had the opportunity of meeting all of the students last November.  Through generous donations, the students received hygiene gift bags and spent the day with the ACF team over food, games, and more food!  It was inspiring to hear about their dreams, aspirations, and what they’ve accomplished so far while in high school. 

ABC.png

 

Water Filters

We distributed a over 40 filters to families and communities in the Philippines.  Part of P20’s WaterDrop project is to follow up with the communities on the status of the filter.  On our most recent trip, we followed up with filters that were distributed to Manggahan High School.  These filters were attached to faucets specifically built for the filters.  We found that the filters were leaking, the water pressure was excessive, and it was obvious that the filters were contaminated.  We were able to find a solution to help prevent contamination by having the staff distribute the jugs of clean water to designated areas and monitor the filters.  This was a learning experience for the team and we are researching other water filters that may be more suitable and reliable.  

 

Manggahan High School 2.JPG
Manggahan High School.JPG

India

We also distributed 15 more filters to three villages in India.  There are about 60 children who now have access to clean water!

 

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2016 Recap: Over 690 Families Impacted!

What a year it has been for us at ARIA Children's Fund! Between implementing new projects, following-up on existing ones, beginning new partnerships, and planning for the future, we are thankful for all that we have been able to do this year. Here are some of the highlights of our year:

Comfort Room Construction

The construction of the classrooms and community center in Canlaon are underway, including the restrooms that were funded through ACF. Thank you to everyone who supported our t-shirt fundraiser and gave to this project, helping us to provide working toilets for a community where many families practice open defecation. We can't wait to visit the center again on our next trip and see all of the children again! You can find more info on this particular project here.


Hygiene Training and Filter Set-Up

The 300 families who live in Ecoville were relocated a few years back from their old homes near the foot of the mountain of garbage at the Payatas dump site. While their new community provides certain safeties, it still lacks sufficient access to safe, affordable drinking water. In June 2016, we met with some of the cluster leaders to discuss ways to help educate families on germ transmission and proper hand washing practices. We also set up 6 large water filter stations and, through our partnership with Care Channels International, came up with a plan for the community leaders to take ownership of the project from here and slowly roll out stations in all 30 of their clusters.


Partners in Giving

This year, we had the opportunity to share about our clean water initiative and have others join us in giving specifically to this cause. We were fortunate to be chosen as the charity to partner with Christian Academy in their Giving Project this year! Each week, staff as well as students from Preschool through 12th grade are all doing their part to give sacrificially towards purchasing water filters for families in the Philippines. The middle school and high school students and staff even pledged over $4000!

We also had the opportunity to meet with the members of Hale Ho'onani Fellowship, who opened their church and their hearts to hear about our work and give towards our efforts. We are so fortunate to not only be able to share what we do but have others come alongside us in serving those in need! Thank you HHF!

We can't wait for what next year will hold, including new ventures and initiatives -- with our first trip in March 2017! Thank you to everyone who helped to make our work possible this year, and for all of you who continue to support us along with way. Happy New Year!

Blog Post: Project20 In Action

HEAR FROM OUR FRIEND SASHA AS SHE SHARES A BIT ABOUT HER FIRST EXPERIENCE TRAVELING WITH ACF!


A few months ago, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the positive impact that ARIA Children’s Fund is making in the Philippines, mainly through their clean water initiative, Project20. This trip was based on a follow-up of the communities previously visited, as well as scouting for new possible WaterDrop sites. You would think that something as basic as clean water and hygiene wouldn’t be an issue in the 21st century, but unfortunately these circumstances remain.

In every community visited, we got to hear the stories of what a difference the water filters had made in people's lives, and none of them had been a waste of an investment. People had reported an immediate decrease in bowel and health issues, and it is an amazing sight to see the fruit of ACF come to life. In every conversation we shared, you would notice that no matter what current situation a family found themselves in, you could immediately sense the joy and hope for a brighter future to come.

One city that we visited, Canlaon, led us on a plane ride and 3 hour drive up a volcanic mountain, but was one of the most worthwhile trips I’ve ever been on. Currently, ACF partners with a Compassion International site in an initiative to help raise funds to build working toilets. Their current situation had comfort rooms (bathrooms) that would remain unusable for periods of time. We got to spend time with some of the children there, and they were filled with so much laughter and kindness. They had all greeted us with a great dance and welcome, and were kind enough to share in a few games together.

For a place that has about 390 students attending weekly as a safe haven in a community where drug use and abuse is an issue, having working toilets is the least of what they deserve. Construction for this is currently taking place, and I’m so excited for the update when it is completed. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to meet so many different communities, and see the positive change that was brought on their lives through the water filters and hygiene training. There are still so many more families who could benefit through Project20, and ACF doesn't plan on resting until the motto that “every child deserves clean water” becomes a concern of the past. I hope to continue in working with ARIA Children’s Fund until each child will be given the opportunity for basic water and hygiene necessities.

-Sasha

Blog Post: The Power of Clean Water

Hear from our friend Alex as he shares a bit about his first experience traveling with ACF!


On this trip, I’ve witnessed the positive results of what clean drinking water did for the people of the communities we've visited. One of the communities, residing on the mountainside of a town called San Isidro, reported less diarrheal problems. This visit was a follow-up to see how the families fared after receiving water filters last September of 2015.

One woman shared a story about how all members of her family, except her husband, no longer had diarrhea.  Her husband wondered why he still had diarrheal symptoms.  It was because he wasn’t drinking the filtered water, so she urged him to drink the filtered water.  Since then, he no longer experienced diarrhea. It was a classic story of the power of how drinking clean water can prevent people from suffering water-borne illnesses.

The highlight of the trip really was getting to know the people of the communities and hearing their stories.  From the unfortunate circumstances they experience daily, to their hope-filled stories spiced with humor, I’ve captured a glimpse of the humanity we share together.  It’s those moments that bring me to a sincere level of humility regarding the third world surroundings.

Other than the opportunity to ride a carabao (water buffalo) for the first time, this was an opportunity to see a bigger perspective of discovering a purpose in this world. People around the globe may be in desperation, but perhaps it takes the rest of the world to come alongside them, talk stories, share laughter, and advocate for rights to give them an opportunity to thrive.  ARIA Children’s Fund seeks to be a voice for those children who may not have a fighting chance.

ACF is currently planning their next visit to the Philippines within the year, to continue its water and hygiene initiatives, including the toilet construction follow-up in Canlaon CIty.  I hope that I can be involved in some of their future projects.

Until next time,
Alex

Canlaon Construction Update: June 2016

We recently sent a small team from ACF to the Philippines to do follow-up on previous water filter projects, set up new filter stations, hold a hygiene training, and visit potential locations for future projects. One of our trip objectives was to also visit Canlaon, where we are helping to fund the construction of 4 working toilets along with sinks and the necessary plumbing. With construction set to begin in March of this year, we were initially expecting to visit around the halfway point of the process. However, due to design changes, construction was postponed a bit and is set to begin at the end of June. Though we did not get to see the progress for ourselves on this trip, we did get to learn even more about the community and spend time with the children who will benefit from the project.

An early-morning flight and a 3-hour drive led us far from the busyness of Manila and up the mountain towards the Canlaon Volcano to the child development center, where we were greeted with an awesome performance by the students. In addition to the 57 preschoolers who attend school there daily, there are 390 students under 18 who attend weekly learning activities. Through one of our partner organizations, Compassion International, these children receive medical attention and assistance with school supplies, learn about hygiene and other life skills, and so much more.

 We were welcomed in extravagant fashion by students dancing, waving streamers, spinning flags, and playing steel drums!

We were welcomed in extravagant fashion by students dancing, waving streamers, spinning flags, and playing steel drums!

In a town where drug use is an issue affecting many fathers and teens, the center hopes to create a safe place for the youth in the community - not just the sponsored children - to play as well as learn. In addition to the playground and classrooms, bathrooms (or “comfort rooms” as they are known in the Philippines) are an integral part of what the staff wants to be able to provide for the youth. With many families living as squatters in the main city portion of Canlaon, there are a number of children who practice open defecation, and will soon have the dignity of proper CRs in their community.

The school and center facilities are currently equipped with one boys' and one girls' restroom, but these are often locked up and remain unusable due to issues with water not reaching the facility. There are also one male and one female CR at the adjoining church (pictured above), but as the pastor told me, “our comfort rooms are not comfortable.” While it is not uncommon to see seat-less toilets like this in communities throughout the Philippines, they require a faucet with running water and a bucket so that people can dump water into the bowl to “flush”; without running water available, the latrines are rather unhygienic. In fact, when we first arrived to the center after 3 hours in the car, I immediately mentioned needing to use the restroom, at which time one of the staff members instead brought me to a nearby home where a family graciously let me use their toilet. “You can see how much we need toilets here!”

This construction project, which is set to take about 6 months, will provide 4 toilets, along with adequate water lines and hand washing facilities for the kids to practice their proper hygiene training. These CRs will be accompanying new classrooms that the center is fundraising for on their own. They have already prepared the lot where the construction will take place; on my last trip, this space was instead an outdoor classroom space.

 September 2015 versus June 2016

September 2015 versus June 2016

We had so much fun singing, dancing, and hanging out with the kids there, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in this community! We can’t wait to go back once construction has been completed and be able to see the center and the children in Canlaon again.

-Kayla Schlaich, Project20 Manager