Rose Charities Haiyan log…

The Nimbleness of small NGOs

Timeline of what we have accomplished in our Emergency Response to Hurricane Haiyan:

Nov 8, 2013: (Tacloban) Albert Mulles, his mother and sister grasped the kitchen water cistern and held on for dear life as Typhoon Haiyan winds reached 310 kilometers per hour. They yelled prayers to each other as the storm howled through their wood-framed house, tearing off the roof and shredding the wallboards like matchsticks.

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, a typhoon of unprecedented power, made landfall among the islands of the Philippines causing massive devastation. The storm affected 4 provinces and 10,436 villages in 575 municipalities with sustained winds of 196mph and even stronger gusts, which ripped off roofs, collapsed buildings and shattered windows. Coastal regions were hit with an incredible storm surge, which destroyed boats and fishing gear and left the majority of homes either completely destroyed or uninhabitable.

At last count (Jan 11), there were 6183 dead, 1785 missing and 1.1 million homes destroyed leaving 4.1 million homeless.

Nov 12: (Okayama, Japan) Rose partner AMDA (Asia Medical Doctors Association*) reports that a nurse/coordinator from HQ is already in the Philippines, following up the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that had struck nearby Bohol on October 15. Contact has been made with Philippines Army and Navy to arrange for AMDA teams to join relief missions to the islands of Samar and Leyte.

Nov 13: (Vancouver) Rose Emergency Response expert, Dr. Collin Yong, advises that his Rotary Club contacts are planning food and medical supply missions to the devastated north coast of Negros. He will fly over to join the mission.

Nov 14: (Ubud, Bali) Former Rose Australia Director Sarah Wilson advises that her new employer, Kopernik, is looking for local partners to distribute solar lights and water filtration units for disaster victims. A crowd-funding campaign is launched by Kopernik on their website to cover costs.  Rose Canada puts Sarah in touch with AMDA and the Rotary Club of Bacolod North who agree to undertake distribution in conjunction with other local partners and municipality offices.

Nov 14: (Vancouver) Rose Charities partner AMDA Canada announces a shiatsu and mini-concert fund raising initiative targeting the Japanese Canadian community to support AMDA Japan missions in Tacloban and Samar.

Nov 16: Dr. Collin Yong departs for Bacolod, Negros to join teams there.

Nov 20: First report from Dr. Yong: “Working with local nurses and doctors. They are incredible. Missions are successful as it is locals helping locals.”

NOV 23: (Richmond BC) Walkathon fundraiser organized by Alan Yong raises $30,000.

Nov 24 : (Richmond) “Love Without Borders” Concert organized by Colin Yong raises over $7000 for Rose Charities (and the Canadian Red Cross).

Nov 28: (Vancouver) “A Moment for the Philippines” concert and silent auction at Shangri-la Hotel organized by Adam Hurstfield, Shangi-La Hotel and Juan TV raises $21,000.

Nov 28: (Penang) Rose Charities Malaysia launches Haiyan appeal

Dec 5: (Vancouver) “A Night With Philippines” (ANWP), organized by Francis Arevalo, presents 4 ½ hours of entertainment and raises over $9000

Dec 11: (Cebu City) “Cebu Cares, Cebu Shares” (CCCS) founder Marc Canton launches appeal for donations and support for tent city to open later in month for Haiyan victims.

Dec 24: (New York) Rose USA holds a fundraiser and raises $10k that is donated to Phase 6 of Kopernik’s Philippines Typhoon Emergency Response to support additional delivery of solar lights and filtration units to stricken areas.

Dec 28: (Cebu City) CCCS delivers freezer to tent city paid for by “A Night With Philippines” funds

Jan 3: (Cebu City) Jan and Bill Johnston arrive to coordinate with local partners on tent city operations and priority allocation of relief funds

Jan 5-6: (Cebu City) Basic supplies bought and delivered to tent city (60 tents with 237 individuals)

Jan 7: (Daanbantayan) Jan and Bill Johnston, with CCCS partners, visit devastated north of Cebu where most homes were destroyed or seriously damaged.

Jan 9: (Cebu City) Second supply of food and basic needs provided to tent city.

Jan 10: (Ubud, Bali) Sarah Wilson organises for 60 solar lights from Kopernik’s Phase 6 project to be allocated to the tent city (which is still reliant on part-time generators for power).

Jan 10: (Vancouver) Rose and ANWP organizers agree on allocation of remaining funds between shelter kits for the north and basic needs for tent city

Jan 10: (Cebu City) Bill and Jan meet Albert Mulles whose house was destroyed in Tacloban (see Nov 8). He is in Cebu with Junior Chamber International to buy a generator for Tacloban as there is still only 3% electricity supply there. Albert says only private initiatives are working to relieve victims. The Philippines national government was slow to arrive, slower to deliver any assistance. Thus far, no new funds had flowed via the International or Philippines Red Cross to local chapters.

Jan 10: (Cebu City) Bill Johnston (Rose Director) and Marc Canton (CCCS) meet with representatives of Red Cross Philippines (national and regional) to determine when promised support for the tent city will materialize. (As of this writing nothing has been forthcoming).

Jan 18: (Daanbantayan) CCCS delivers 100 more shelter kits to families who have lost their homes. The kits are becoming even more urgent given the incessant rain and threats of storms that are expected to last for most of the month.

Jan 23: (Bacolod) $25,000 approved to supply over 60 fiberglass hulls for fishermen on Bantayan Island whose boats (thus livelihoods) were lost in the storm. (Additional projects identified for the next tranche of funding include repairing Bantayan’s health centre which serves 3400 islanders and repairing a main connecting boardwalk which provides a vital link for several villages).

To Sum up:

The combined efforts with Rose Charities’ partners have and are providing food, clean water and medical care to many people. Around $80,000 has been raised, and spent. As additional funds come in they are allocated to help with reconstruction of lives and livelihoods. Best of all, the implementation has been through an excellent team effort involving ground level support in the Philippines and organization and fund-raising in Canada and the USA.

Rose Charities would like to acknowledge and thank our many donors, organizers and volunteers for their efforts. There is still a long way to go of course, but ‘so far so good’. (It would be interesting to know where the Canadian and BC governments’ matching funds went and what impact they have had to date).

*Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) conducted AMDA Multi National Medical Missions (AMMM) and relief activities around the affected areas from the day after the disaster. AMDA covered wider areas of Samar, Tacloban to Cebu, Bantayan Island and further to the island of Panay with medical and volunteer teams from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal and the Philippines.

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Why Rose Charities ?

a4On the Vancouver CBC morning program hosted by Rick Cluff today (20 Nov 2013) there was a discussion on what to look for in an aid organization helping now in relief activities. A representative from the excellent Canadian ‘Charities Watch’ organization gave three criteria. They could have taken directly from Rose Charities and were as follows

1) Local network: Look for organizations with local involvments and networks prior to the crisis. Rose Charities was founded for work in S.E. Asia. Contacts and local networks within the Philippines have been present for years, especially through Rose Charities Director Dr Collin Yong, who has carried out multiple medical missions there prior to the crisis and has many local contacts. Within days of the current crisis occurring food was being delivered (while the media in Vancouver were continuing to discuss that ‘food was not getting through’ in north Negros Island, one of the worst hit areas, organized by Rose partners in the North Bacolod Rotary Club. . In addition local networking in S.E.Asia resulted in a hugely generous donation by an Indonesian Alternative Community Technology organization (Kopernik) of 100 large water filtration units which were directly send to the area. Now, Dr Yong himself is there working again with local counterparts, on a combined Rose Charities / Bacolod Rotary Medical missions, travelling by boat to the many outlying islands which to date have been almost untouched by assistance.

pakquake-pirzada (2)2) Experience: Look for organizations with experience in a specific area; Rose Charities volunteers have huge experience in overseas assistance. The whole organization was founded predominantly by field workers disillusioned with the waste, inefficiency and sadly, often frank dishonesty in the ‘aid industry;’ Rose Charities Canada’s volunteers include nurses, doctors, and other health professionals, engineers, accountants, financial managers, lawyers etc. Members from all walks of life and the majority with experience of work overseas in the whole spectrum of activities from immediate emergency to long term. Rose Charities is particularly strong with medical and health care, especially paediatric as many of its members work in this field, several a with the B.C. Children’s Hospital. Unlike some other organizations the organizers of Rose Charities see little demarcation as to what constitutes emergency relief. Millions of children and adults dying from treatable disease, poverty, conflict is equally an emergency to natural environmental disaster. The aim of Rose Charities is simply to help all to whatever degree it is able.

3) Look for track record. Look for organizations with a good track record in humanitarian relief: Rose Charities has a noteworthy track record in humanitarian assistance. These include assistance to Sri Lanka and Indonesia (Tsunami 2004), Pakistan (Earthquake Kashmir 2005), Hurricane Katrina USA 2005, Indonesia Volcano 2009), Sichuan katrina1Earthquake and Myanmar typhoon 2008, Haiti Earthquake 2010 Japan Tohoku Tsunami 2011, Pakistan flood 2012. The common denominator with Rose involvement has been policy of immediately, on the disaster occurring, activating, linking, co-ordinating, or finding local networks which can be supported to provide immediate assistance. This policy allows also the flexibility which can ensure assistance can actually get to areas which may be politically or logistically difficult for other organizations. Only secondarily, and if requested, suggested by the local counterpart is a team directly sent. Where teams have been sent however it has been with the policy of not simply rushing in and out in a matter of months, but staying, funding permitting to help the long-term rebuilding of the area. In Sri Lanka 2005 for example, in the weeks after the tsunami there were dozens of organizations who arrived after Rose Charities team to work in the same area. However, 6 month later around 80 percent of them had departed, a year almost all of them and now, 10 years later Rose remains the only one. In the 10 years however, multiple community support programs have been carried out, including education, medical, poverty reduction etc. In Haiti, program support continues in the area of paediatric nursing training (the nursing training facilities having been destroyed by the earthquake). In Tohoku, work continues through close partners AMDA Japan and the medical center this group has established.

The ‘Charities Watch’ criteria fit Rose exactly. However Rose Charities organizers would add two more

4) Length of mission. As discussed above, many organizations seem to rush in (often with great expense ) distribute a lot of materials (much of which often is not needed, cannot get to the area through logistics difficulties etc. ) stay for a short while then depart very quickly. This can result in actually generating more hardship when supplies and medical services which the community start to depend on, are simply cut off again. Rose Charities aims wherever possible to ‘stay the course’  and help communities rebuild.  Two years after the 2004 Asian Tsuanmi, there were still people in some areas living in tents.  The effects of disaster don’t just to away in a few months.

5) Cost effectiveness. In Sri Lanka 2005 whole hotel floors were being hired by organizations in Colombo. Huge amounts were spent on logistics, salaries of ‘experts’, special transport (rented aircraft etc.). Rose Charities volunteers, are just that, volunteers. They are unpaid donating their time and expertise. While some airfares and some living costs (at local cost levels) are paid for rapid emergency missions, in general Rose Charities operations they are not (volunteers pay their own). Admin. costs are minimal. There are some bank transfer charges, and some low bookkeeping costs (though other accounting is generously donated). In short, Rose Charities is incredibly cost effective. It is no exaggeration, and easily demonstrable that Rose Charities has achieved in emergency situations an equivalent or more than many other organizations spending 10 or 20 times more

6) Credibility   There are  many ways to convey information and it is natural for all organizations to want to put the best mary-er-sllight on their work possible.  However sometimes this means that the information is presented about what is actually being carried out in the field may not correlate with reality. This is not necessarily deliberate, it can be hard for information to get back through various channels and way-stations and remain in its natural form.  In addition there  is great pressure to  ‘get first’ on air and put over a good picture.   There are no simple ways to know whether what is being said is really true or not but it is a very good idea to ask questions where possible.    Rose Charities tries to get publicity too, because it does help to promote our work and elicit donations.  In Rose however if we are assisting an emergency we know that (as outlined above) we already have our delivery mechanism in the field with a local network,  so that whatever donors kindly give, big or small,  will be fed directly into that mechanism to be implemented cost-effectively, where it is needed.

Philippines relief update: Rose Charities medical missions to north Negros Island and isolated outlying islands



Rose Charities Dr Collin Yong, currently carrying out medical relief along the north coast of Negros Island.  Missions carried out to Cadiz City as well as some of the small isolated islands which to date have had almost no relief.  Images above include Lakawon Island


NZ donated operating microscope for Rose Charities Eye Clinic

mike-microscope-vra-dan-hitMike Webber (Rose NZ Trustee) delivers  a wonderful NZ donated  Topcon  operating microscope to Dr Hang Vra (left) and the Rose Eye Clinic.  Mike and Anne Webber  brought  up from NZ and assembled it on site. The donation will  give  considerable upgrade in the clinics remarkable services for Cambodian blind and/or in need of eye surgery. The scope was taken up to Cambodia by Mike and Anne Webber and assembled there by them on site by them.

The Rose Charities Cambodia Eye Clinic / Sight Center has treated over 100,000 patients in the last 10 years.  It also runs an outreach program, taking eye screening, out to rural areas as well as promoting eye health.The clinic was founded in 1997.   though had to be entirely re-equipped when it was looted by an expatriate orchestrated group of thieves in 2003.

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!

Rose Vietnam: Thanh Thien Ornamental Flower Center: First Tourists Visit !

Thanh Thien Village  Ornamental Flower Center has seen its first tourist visit.    Thanh Thien was historially the traditional royal village which made the fabric flowers for the kings and queens of Vietnam.  This skilled art of hand-crafting delicate work, needing specialized tools and instruments, themselves made by the villagers had been all but lost.  Rose Vietnam has helped to revive the cottage-industry, and introduce it to tourists, who are able both to see, as well as to try their hand at the process themselves.  A visitor centre has been established and a small shop where flower kits and other souvenirs may be purchased.

Jessica Blakes wonderful gift to Rose Charities and Cambodia. ‘The more I see’

Jessica Blake.... writer and singer of 'The more I see'

The beautiful singer and songwriter Jessica Blake has dedicated one of her most lovely songs to Rose Charities.  ‘The more I see’   was written during a visit by Jessica to Cambodia where she was moved by the courage of the poor battling with so much need.  Jessica discovered there of the work of Rose Charities (now around 20 years) in Cambodia and so with huge generosity dedicated this incredible song to Rose work.   Please click to listen to if and, if  you are like it and would like to honour tnd thank Jessica by donating a little to Rose Charities efforts use the donation pageof this site.  The funds will be used to help the poor of Cambodia in one of Rose’s many projects there