STEP- Saturday Tongan Education Program
Weekly @ Pomona College, Claremont CA
The Saturday Tongan Education Program is an Inland Empire collaboration between MALO and Pomona College’s Asian American Resource Center (AARC). Through weekly workshops and discussions at the Pomona College campus, participants support each other in their own journeys. STEP volunteers provide Tongan American youth with support in school, cultural preservation, leadership growth, and personal identity exploration. At the same time, college students associated with the AARC and from community engagement courses learn about the issues that affect their companions’ communities. They can engage directly with a community that historically has been under-served and underrepresented.
STEP fosters a mutually beneficial relationship between Tongan youth and the university institution to create unique learning opportunities on both ends.
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IDAAS Community Creations
MALO is in continual collaboration with the Claremont Colleges to produce educational materials like zines, articles, and images for the community. In the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies (est. 1998) at the Claremont Colleges, students can take Community Engagement classes to participate in STEP workshops and sessions. These following creations are the products of their work and partnership with Tongan youth.
CASA Pitzer Collaborations
Presented @ Pitzer College, Claremont CA
MALO’s partnerships with the City of Ontario and CASA Pitzer has formed connections that highlight the historical significance Tongan Americans have had throughout the Inland Empire. From cultural festivals in Downtown Ontario to professional development skillshares hosted by CASA, our partnerships encourage visibility and education around Tongan American cultural presence in the Inland Empire.
Tonga Relief Support of America (TRSA)
In an effort to remedy the devastation caused by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption on January 15, 2022, the Tonga Relief Support of America (TRSA) was created. A collaborative effort between MALO, Vakatasi, the MANA Learning Community at the College of San Mateo (CSM), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), and other various kinds of organizations, TRSA aims to provide direct mutual aid to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on the ground in Tonga to help assist those most impacted. Funds donated support the response, recovery, and reconstruction of the Kingdom of Tonga, particularly the areas heavily impacted.
TRSA has specifically partnered with Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation (MORDI) –– an NGO aiming to improve and sustain the livelihoods of the rural communities of Tonga, a particularly vulnerable group. MORDI was on the frontlines in terms of safely providing transportation for folks on impacted islands, as well as transporting necessities for survival such as clean drinking water. TRSA will support the needs identified by MORDI in their assessment reports, such as operational costs, equipment, and raw building materials. The work that MORDI does is essential to supporting those most impacted, especially given the additional problems and stressors caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Alongside collaborating on the creation of TRSA, MALO, Vakatasi, CSM, EPIC, and NCAPA drafted and sent a letter to the White House. The letter and subsequent press release urged the Biden administration to release a statement of acknowledgment of the situation in Tonga and to take part in providing aid to the Kingdom of Tonga. This letter garnered lots of support from non-profit and community organizations in the Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander space.
To visit the TRSA website: click here
To see the press release: click here