Aguinaldo International School cares deeply about all children in Manila. We believe that every child has an inherent right to protection and education, and in line with this we created an outreach program called.”Kidz In Action” that works with less-advantaged children to help them achieve their basic rights.
To find highly talented ‘street children’ and provide them with a pathway from ‘street-life’ to ‘professional-life’ through long-term educational supports and social supports.
We work with street children (and children from low-income families) that are in Grades 4-6. These children have the nickname “KIA Kids”. They are 8-12 years old and they either attend public school or receive street education through Childhope Asia. One of our core activities is our ‘Mobile Library’, which operates each weekend in Paco Park (a lovely heritage site that is ideal for arts, crafts, reading, theater and teambuilding). Through the mobile library project, we are able to identify street children that have the right attributes to succeed academically (if given the right supports). Once discovered, these promising children are selected for our KIA Club, which provides them with a social worker, weekly tutorials, special trainings, medical care, excursion trips and more. Through KIA Club activities, the ‘KIA Kids’ improve their English and gain the necessary self-confidence for setting long-term educational goals. After being in the KIA club for one year, we place the KIA kids in schools that they are well suited for. For some children, public school is best. For others, private schools and international schools are ideal. As they near graduation, we help them with college applications and throughout their university years we stay connected through our alumni program (to encourage them to the finish line).
The sheer magnitude of Manila’s poverty can make students feel that the problems are insurmountable and therefore not worth tackling. Consequently, AIS has adopted the strategies listed below to raise our community’s optimism and positive action. We believe that if enough schools take these steps then society may achieve a critical mass of talented and caring citizens that collectively have the strength to eradicate poverty. An education of this sort is surely as important to humanity as one focused solely on the traditional disciplines.
- Empowering students to help less-advantaged children
- Educating students to understand the root causes of poverty
- Enabling students to befriend children from poor communities
- Developing students’ leadership skills so they can initiate positive change
- Showing students that ‘each individual has the power to change the world’
With Manila’s widespread poverty, it is tempting to engage in multiple projects to enable students to experience a range of social issues. However, this could preclude us from having focus, attaining expertise and developing a sustainable program that maximizes positive outcomes for the intended target groups. In addition, by having too many service-learning options, students may become fickle, dropping in and out of various programs before they are able to:
- form genuine relationships – and therefore empathy – with the target group,
- acquire sustainable development skills and knowledge,
- develop an understanding of the causes and effects of poverty/marginalization and
- act responsibly with long-term commitment. And, by focusing on one major project, all the students’ service activities can be integrated into the performance tasks that they do in their academic subjects.
This enhances their learning by making the students’ curriculum relevant and their assessments authentic. We therefore believe that our service-learning program should focus on a single project over many years, and be integrated in the curriculum, classrooms and school culture.
- Helps kids to be healthier through fitness, nutrition and medical & dental care
- Helps kids to be safer through child rights advocacy and access to social workers
- Helps break the cycle of poverty by taking kids off the streets and (eventually) into professions
- Makes kids smarter through scholarships and tutorials in English, Math, Information Technology
- Breaks stereotypes by showing society that street kids have talent (they only need opportunities)
- Gives kids healthy friendships, wholesome activities, leadership development and happiness
- Helps kids become more skilled in interpersonal relationships, decision-making, communication, problem solving, creative thinking, responsibility, self-awareness, empathy and coping with stress & emotion.
- Our two pioneer KIA scholars received full scholarships: 1) Propeller Club, 2) UWC in Germany
- KIA Club members are staying in school, succeeding, and planning ahead for college
- They are receiving medical and dental care, and remaining drug-free and abuse-free
- Stairway Foundation has provided psycho-social support for children, as needed
- Emilio Aguinaldo College receives funds from AAP and employs the KIA social worker
- Active Aid Partnerships provides funding and ongoing involvement in decision-making
- Child Hope Asia provides assistance in selecting suitable street children for the program