IAT's Sponsorship Program, since its beginning in 1980, has focused upon assisting orphans and the poorest of the poor - those whose parents or guardian's major concern is, "How am I going to feed my children tomorrow?"
IAT's focus is upon a holistic and sustainable approach to development and Youth empowerment. As a result IAT now has young program graduates in more than 50 villages in several areas of the Philippines.
Our programs have, so far, produced a number of skilled technicians as well as the following professionals: teachers, nurses, midwives, medical technicians, accountants, college professors, agriculturalists, foresters, accountants, lawyers, and one doctor.
Following an earthquake in the early 80's that destroyed their gravity fed irrigation systems, many tribes people from the remote mountain villages emigrated to Tabuk, a frontier area in the northern Philippines. In order to assist then to adapt to different farming practices, IAT developed a 40 acre experimental/demonstration farm.
In addition to growing and experimenting with several varieties of indigenous and non-indigenous rice, many different vegetables were grown to demonstrate back-yard gardening techniques.
Composting and mushroom production were introduced and thousands of quality fruit and forest seedlings for free disbursal to local farmers, schools and community groups were produced. Its eight fish ponds provided protein for children under IAT's program and Tilapia fingerlings for distribution. The facilities also offered earning and learning opportunities for high school and college students while serving as a venue for farmers and students to learn organic gardening and ecologically sound farming techniques. Proceeds from farm production went towards feeding the children under its sponsorship program and sustaining IAT's aid projects.
IAT has been effectively implementing community development and youth empowerment programs in the Philippines since 1979 and has forged strong linkages with other Non government organizations such as the ASSISI Foundation, Heifer International, Cordillera People's Alliance, Children's Foundation of the Philippines, as well as several Indigenous peoples' groups.
Youth Development and Training
IAT offers Youth Empowerment seminars and workshops to students under its sponsorship program as well as to out-of-school-youth and other children from the surrounding communities. These seminars help young people to develop their confidence, gain competence, build practical skills and leadership abilities.
Through its summer literacy program, IAT provides opportunities for teams of senior students to travel to remote villages to conduct literacy classes and village theatre as a way of raising awareness regarding issues that affect the communities.
Such practical experiences serve to build planning, budgeting, organizing, conflict resolution, communication and other skills among the participants, while instilling a sense of community service. Hundreds of program graduates are now back in their respective villages taking leadership roles in creating positive change. Program graduates are making a difference in Ifugao, Mountain Province, Zambales, Mindoro, Kalinga, Abra, Fuga Island and several squatter areas in and around Manila.
IAT's Montessori-Based Preschool and Elementary Program
In 1999 IAT assisted a small Montessori school in Legazpi City to provide quality preschool education to underprivileged children. That same year, IAT launched a pilot daycare program for tribal children in the frontier village of Nambaran, in Kalinga Province. The following year the daycare was transferred to the lower section of IAT's Children's Center in Tabuk, Kalinga's provincial capital.
This Montessori preschool started with a handful of children and one teacher and has since been expanded to include grade six and 200 children. Thanks to support from the Quadra Island community in BC and Sisler High School in Winnipeg, the Montessori daycareprogram has expanded to include several small day cares in remote Kalinga villages.
This old building, purchased for a bargain price in the 1980's, is situated on a one-acre compound in Tabuk and serves as IAT's Childrens Centre. The upper floor accommodates more than 45 orphans and children from the poorest of families. The lower lever has six commercial outlets – the rent from which helps to sustain IAT’s projects.
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With funds raised from sponsors and IAT supporters, the Durrances and five volunteers from Vancouver Island, assisted by more than 150 IAT-sponsored students and their parents, spent three months giving the building a complete upgrade, with new roof, toilets, kitchen and dining facility and paint inside and out in 2007.
IAT-Philippines has, in 2008, been accredited as a fully recognized child care institution by the Philippines Government.
In March of 2008, nine of IAT’s senior sponsored students graduated from colleges in the fields of: midwifery, commerce, education, nursing and social work. In March of 2009 another six graduated into professional fields.
Cultural and Peace Initiatives
IAT encourages the retention of Indigenous culture through conducting cultural programs, exchanges, research and documentation.
In partnership with Heifer International IAT’s “Gift for Peace Project” is serving to cement peace between tribes that have held grudges and animosity for generations. With heifers provided by Heifer International, IAT has created a program whereby young cows are given to families in a particular village with the stipulation that when their cow produces offspring, the first calf must be given freely to someone in another village that, in the past, has been an enemy. The new recipient of a cow then passes on her first born calf to another from a different village. This innovative program has been operating for the past few years, and as a result of its phenomenal success in cementing peace between villages, IAT has received several awards of recognition.
IAT staff members and senior students, in the Philippines, continue to play a major role in resolving conflicts between various tribes and in promoting and fostering peace in the area.