Dear supporters, I just returned from the Philippines where I was overwhelmed by the joy that radiated from students and teachers alike. I was there assisting a US civil affairs (CA) team working to counter ISIS recruitment efforts by promoting early childhood education. You can read more of the details here. Through your generous donations, Spirit of America was able to provide tables and chairs to seven area schools, significantly improving the learning environment for these young children. Over 200 families from the southern city of Zamboanga attended a ceremony and outreach event, sponsored by the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development. Local doctors provided medical services and US military forces provided classes on countering violent extremism. It was a great event that brought together members of the community and reinforced a collaborative commitment to ensuring safety and security within the region. Parents, teachers, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a US civil affairs team, and local government leaders attended, and they pledged to continue to support education initiatives within the city. This small donation not only made a difference in the lives of these children, but also strengthened relationships between US forces and the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development. This relationship should create opportunities for future countering violent extremism collaboration. I’ve only been back a short time, but have already received positive feedback from the students, teachers, and US CA team. Promoting early-childhood education in areas where violent extremist organizations attempt to find a foothold is important to the continued success of our deployed US troops and diplomats. Your ongoing generosity allowed us to provide this much-needed assistance to students in Zamboanga, building stronger relationships with the children and those who seek to protect them. Along with all of us at SoA, there are a few others who wanted to say “Thank you” for your continued support… Until next time, T
Terrell Chandler is Spirit of America's Asia Pacific Regional Program Manager.