Unsung Heroes Cambodia: New book !

We are proud to announce that we have been featured in new book that is being released shortly. ‘Unsung Heroes Cambodia: People and Projects Making a Difference’ is a non-profit book that is a collection of inspirational stories about NGO’s that also raises awareness about the complex issues surrounding voluntourism. It offers practical tips for anyone interested in helping whether by donating time, money or equipment. It also is filled with stunning photography that presents a side of Cambodia that is heartfelt and unique (in the large format book – an ebook version will also be available for travelers).
To receive information on this book (which is raising money for the projects it includes) please join the mailing list by using this link:
You can also join us on Facebook/ Unsung Heroes Cambodia.

Rose Cambodia Rehab Center benefits from UK volunteer Donna


Finance Officer Rith, Volunteer Accountant Donna and A/Director of RCRC, Sophak

In February, RCRC was delighted to welcome our second volunteer from the UK-based NGO Accountants for International Development (AfID).  Donna was able to meet up with our first volunteer Matt, in London prior to her flight to Cambodia. The meeting provided Donna with a great early briefing about what to expect in Phnom Penh when she arrived, and gave her an overview of the work ahead.

RCRC, although a small organisation, has the same requirements for careful management of our donors funds and formal grants, as any larger NGO. Donna has helped our Finance Officer, Rith and our Acting Director, Sophak to develop a stronger system of reports, work that was begun by Matt in 2012. Donna was also invaluable in helping us to prepare budgets for planned new projects.

We thank Donna for her six weeks here and hope she enjoys her well-earned holiday in other parts of Cambodia as well as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand!

Cambodia’s Disability Network (CIDI) – integrating Govt and NGO initiatives in Cambodia


Sophak (Admin/Outreach Coordinator, RCRC), Lee (Organisational Development Officer, RCRC) and Tokyo (Senior Program Manager, Australian Embassy, Phnom Penh) at the CIDI Network meeting.

On 28 February and 1 March, Sophak and Lee attended the final meeting of the Cambodian Initiative for Disability Inclusion (CIDI) Network.  By funding 55 projects, which have been run by 38 Cambodian local organisations, the Australian Red Cross’s CIDI network has been a great success, not only funding disability projects directly, but holding regular workshops to build the capacity of the Khmer staff of the member organisations.

RCRC has really benefitted from being part of this wonderful network, since we joined 18 months ago. We actively participated in the following workshops to develop understanding and skills in the following ways:

  • First Aid training
  • Self-help groups – we learned from each other’s organisations about the sustainable change that many SHGs achieve in small villages and in towns,
  • Advocacy – how to build better community understanding of disability; at present there is still a lot of discrimination against people with disabilities,
  • Quickbooks (accounting software program) training for some key beneficiaries of RCRC’s Access For All project,
  • Child Protection Policy development and implementation,
  • Monitoring and evaluation – with field experience.  RCRC worked with Muslim Aid Cambodia for a Peer to Peer Evaluation, with a visit by RCRC to Muslim Aid in Kampong Chhnang, and a return visit by Muslim Aid to RCRC’s Access For All project in Prey Veng.
  • And, we received financial support to send Sophak to the 2nd Asian Pacific CBR (Community-Based Rehabilitation) congress in Manilla, Philippines.

All the members of the CIDI network have really valued these meetings and workshops. They’ve helped build close relationships through sharing information, knowledge and experiences of working in the disability sector, and, crucially the network has made a big contribution to developing the capacity of Khmer staff in the above ways. We are all hoping very much that there is a way for the Australian Red Cross to be able to continue to run the network.

Sokny at the International Hand Therapy congress 2013 in India

Sokny with participants and Evelyn Mackin (in white jacket)

Sokny at the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy congress 2013 in India.

Senior RCRC Physiotherapist, Sokny took to the skies in early March – on his first ever flight – to New Delhi, India.

As the winner of the Evelyn Mackin Award for a therapist from a developing country, RCRC was thrilled that Sokny had this opportunity to take part in this fantastic learning opportunity.

There was a great deal to choose from – as the conference was attended by many health disciplines including specialist hand surgeons. Also present were Occupational Therapists, Prosthetists and Orthotists (POs),  Physiotherapists, and researchers.

Sokny focussed on topics that might be of greatest use in Cambodia, and  at RCRC. These were wrist instability: splinting or exercise; stabilisation exercise for wrist instability; rehabilitation for patients with burns; thumb instability: surgery, splints or exercise, and consideration of the kinds of splinting material and types of splints.  Hand therapy is such a specialist area, and in Cambodia, as elsewhere, so much is at stake if hand use is compromised through injury.

It wasn’t quite all work though, Sokny also grabbed the chance to visit the Taj Mahal!

Sokny – at the Taj Mahal

‘Amazing and fantastic’ is how he summed it up.  Sokny is looking forward to the opportunity to pass on his new found knowledge, to his RCRC colleagues and to members of the Cambodian Physical Therapy Association (CPTA).

RCRC is enormously grateful to theInternational Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy, for providing  Sokny with an all-expenses paid opportunity to learn so much from others in the field of hand therapy.                                                             Written by Lee Parker

Bees in Battembang help daycare kids. Cambodia

Rose Charities is partnering with Hearts and Hands Cambodia(HHC) in an exciting new project, which both supports HHC’s Daycare Centre near Battambang and launches a new sustainable beekeeping initiative in this community.

For over ten years, HHC has provided care, love and support to 75-100 local children who are among the poorest from eight villages surrounding the Centre. As families struggle with local unemployment and lack of financial resources, they know that their children receive the best care at the Children’s Centre: two healthy meals daily, preschool education (the first ever in the region), personal hygiene (bath time, teeth-brushing, clean clothes), medical
attention and a wonderful safe place to play and be themselves – normal children.


Rose Charities found HHC through our mutual interest in improving Cambodian livelihoods by supporting bee populations and honey production. Whilst volunteering at the Rose Charities Rehabilitation Centre in Phnom Penh, Rose Vietnam Director Jan Johnston took time out to make contacts with beekeepers in Cambodia. Her research took her twice across Cambodia and eventually to the doorstep of Hearts and Hands Cambodia. HHC founder, Christine Wagner, had been working to get a bee project going in the region for years in order to provide stable income opportunities for the parents of the children. (The area is the agricultural heart of Cambodia and home to a large bee population, despite poor handling methods used by local farmers that frequently result in the death of the bees.)

On return to Canada, Jan contacted Surrey’s Honeybee Centre, the hub for CEO John Gibeau’s Bee World Project, a not-for-profit organization that assists people from the poorer regions of the world to improve their quality of life through beekeeping. As Bee World Project had already launched a project in Cambodia (in nearby Pursat), they were keen to consider another and sent an expert to Battambang to determine project viability.

Meanwhile, Jan continued the hunt for funding and in July was rewarded with a Bee World donor commitment for the entire bee project plus matching funding to help sustain Daycare Centre operations for the next year! In early 2013, a Bee World Project instructor will travel to Battambang to spend one month training up to 30 farmers from the eight surrounding villages. In addition, the older children attending the Sobbhana Daycare Centre will begin to learn beekeeping in order to provide training for potential livelihood opportunities in the future.

beekeepingThis is the first of three phases that BWP is committing to the region over the next decade. Securing a beekeeping project will assist families to increase their earnings and eventually the families will be able to contribute to the cost of the care for their children. The Centre, when not in use by the daycare, will be perfect as a central meeting place for the beekeeping villagers.

The mutual objective of Rose Charities and the Bee World Project is to create a self-sustaining beekeeping economy in Battambang that will supply badly needed income as well as increased nutrition through the consumption of honey and additional fruit and vegetables benefiting from the increased pollination that the bees provide.

Our goal now is to match the $5000 donation from Bee World for the daycare centre.

Medical Elective program Cambodia upgraded.

The PPSC Rose Medical Elective Program is newly established although Rose has had experience in providing a medical elective program in the past. Our star Surgeon, Dr Nous Sarom has moved to become the Head of Surgery at the Preah Mettokelea Surgical Centre (PPSC) at the Military Hospital in Phnom Penh. Dr Sarom has had a long history with Rose and we have adapted our program to follow this wonderful surgeon and teacher. The Program is now being administered by Ms Sophak Chim who has excellent organisational skills and fantastic written English. She is managing our complicated schedule and ensuring that students receive communication from Cambodia upon receiving their email enquiries. Obviously being a new program there will be teething problems but we hope that the program will evolve to be a leading elective program in Cambodia, especially with the assistance of great feedback from the students!  … read more…

Dr Nous Sarom: Master Surgeon of Cambodia…

Dr Nous Sarom was born November 12,1970 and grew up in a small village, Prek Roka , Kandal Steung District , Province of Kandal 30km south of the Capital City of Phnom Penh, He did his primary school and college at his hometown and his high School at capital city of Kandal province. He completed his medical degree at, Universite de la Science Sante, in Phnom Penh 1995. From 1996 he was appointed as a member of the medical staff and head of the Surgery Department of Kandal Stung District Hospital , the district of his home area.
Dr Nous start training (1996-1999 ) in Plastic surgery and Cleft lip/ Cleft palate repair with Operation Unis, a Japanese organization which was the first NGO conducting cleft lip/Palate surgical Missions in Cambodia since 1992 in Dr Nous Kandal Stung Surgical Department .
From May 1999- March 2003 Dr,Nous was appointed to the Medical staff of Rose Charities Rehabilitation Center, Kien Kleang ,Phnom Penh and then promoted to Chief of Surgery of the Center.  Rose Charities was the first NGO surgical unit to recognize and start providing specialized care for acid burn victims, and Dr Sarom was foremost in the development of this area.   He was interviewed for THE LANCET.Vol359.March 30, 2002. (www.thelancet.com) and also  presented his pioneering work at the Sunnybrook Hosptial, University of Toronto March 2000.
Dr Nous carried undertook further training through a clinical cleft lip/palate surgery fellowship at Queen Marry Hospital , University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 2000 supported by Professor Nabil Samann. He then completed a further 3 year program in Maxillofacial surgery though a fellowship Fellowship in Thailand which was organized by IAOMS(International Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon) and PSU( Prince of Songkla University), Hatyai, Thailand at the culmination of which in 2004 he gained a Diploma of Maxillofacial Surgery Diploma
After returning home ,2004, Dr.Nous was appointed to the surgical staff of Chea Chumneas Referral Hosptial, Takmhmao, Kandal Province. Shortly after this he was further promote to the position of deputy director of the entire Chea Chumneas Hospital .
Around the same time, Dr Nous founded his own rehabilitative surgical project in coordination with and partially supported by Rose Charities. Initially under the name of Operation FIRST, the work both in with Rose and also as an independent organization continues to this day. Operation FIRST forged many international and local links including with Operation SMILE, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Operation Rainbow Canada and the University of British Columbia.
In 2008, Dr Nous undertook an academic fellowship in plastic surgery at UBC, Vancouver supported and instructed by Operation Rainbow’s Dr Douglas Courtemanche, Dr Cynthia Verchere, Dr David Naysmith, Dr Kimit Rai, Professor Richart Warrant, Dr. Douglas Caberwise and Dr Nicholas Carr.
Also in 2008 (January) ,2008, Dr.Nous received the award of ‘Credential in Plastic Surgery’ a specialized, and highly valued award of Operation SMILE. This was closely followed by a affirmation of worldwide recognition as a cleft surgeon by the Plastic Surgery Education Foundation and The Smile Train Organization.
Attending the Rose Charities International Conference in Penang in Febrary 2008, Dr Nous was at the occasion presented with the 2007 Charity Rose Award for outstanding contribution and dedication to charity.
Dr Nous traveled as a plastic surgery Consultant with joint the international Surgical Mission (several organization) to India’s, Sikim State,2009 and to Laos Parkse 2010. As a representative of Operation Smile Cambodia he was a valued participant at the Asia-Pacific Cleft Care conference in Perth March 2011 and the Maxillofacial deformity Conference in October,2011 in Melbourne, Australia.
Since January 2012, he was appointed as Consultant Surgeon to the staff of Preaket Mealea Hospital, the biggest Military hospital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia . This hospital provides a range of services, both subsidized (mostly free) for the poor and costed services for others.
Dr Nous is thus, currently Head of Department of Maxillofacial, Plastic , Reconstructive and esthetic surgery and a clinical assistant Professor of Maxillofacial/Plastic surgery . Through him his department maintains and nurtures links with many other organizations both in Cambodia and overseas. An elective student placement program is run also for medical/surgical students.
Dr Nous maintains has a considerable international background, benefitting from experience both in the industrialized and developing world. Having performed, taught and organized a huge number of cleft and general rehabilitative surgeries to thousands of patients in considerably varying conditions worldwide his breadth of knowledge and practical experience are matched by few. Dr Nous is thus one of Cambodia’s most valued and honoured surgeons but he uses this wealth of experience as much to help those in need as for his own remuneration.

Dr Nous is current Cambodia representative of the Rose International Council. He is married with 4 children.