Rose Charities International Network:
2014 End of Year Review.
2014 for Rose Charities has been marked both by consolidation in which the well established projects have steadily moved forwards with new initiatives, plans and their implementation, and a considerable delivery of emergency relief for the Philippines. The moves towards increased self sustainability have made progress in a number of areas, notably with the Sri Lanka Medicare program including now a specialised Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) Centre, Cambodia, where Drs Vra and Natalia Heng’s Rose Charities Eye Centre now operates also from their newly built clinic and caters for both the paying, to cover costs, and the poor. Projecto San Gerado Costa Rica’s community programs incorporating tourist and local produce are, now as part of Rose Charities Canada an impressive example of what can be achieved.
Sri Lanka was very active in 2014, continuing to lead the way in microcredit initiatives. It has had to reduce its preschool program due to lack of funding but still manages to run the new cut-down program in this hugely essential area. ( www.rosesrilanka.info )
Rose Charities Sri Lanka wonderfully hosted the 2014 Rose VI International Conference which was a huge success allowing international delegates (UK, Canada, USA, NZ, Cambodia, Japan) and Sri Lanka guests to network, discuss and witness the excellent programs in their area. In addition many of the children in the area worked hard to give delegates marvellous entertainment of dancing and singing which was hugely appreciated by all.
2014 was actually the 10th year after the terrible Asian tsunami of 2004 and it is a true tribute to the energy, charity and dedication of Anthony Richard and his team that so much has been achieved in that time. Over these years, programs have included child and adult health care, post traumatic child counselling, sports for peace and education for all ages, from pre-school to higher education. Poverty reduction through micro-credit and vocational training are now noteworthy as well as special development programs for women.
One of the most notable achievements of 2014 was the re-birth of the Rose Cambodia Rehab Centre (RCRC) ( www.roserehab.org ) which was in final stages of closure though lack of funds. This was also one of the major successes of the Sri Lanka Rose VI conference when Ms Sophak Chim (RCRC Cambodia) discussed issues with a very supportive Rose Charities USA team (Rachel Greene, Arnold Sanchez, Dianne Johnston). Ms Sophak showed that despite the difficulties of physiotherapy being well accepted in Cambodia, the demand for the clinic’s services were on the increase. Rose USA agreed to continue and expand support assisted by Canada and the UK. Previously the main support had come from Rose Australia (the main original founder of RCRC) but this organisation has had to go into a reorganisation phase (possibly with a view to disbanding) due to lack of funding and director base. RCRC has now continued to be successful under new Director Ms Chhouen Putheary. (Ms Sophak continues to advise),
Informal linkage of RCRC with Professor Nous Saroms’s Rehabilitation Surgery department in the PPSC medical centre ( www.cambodiasurgery.info ) continues both in cross-referrals and consultations. In addition PPSC takes many elective medical students who often write to Rose Charities asking for placements.
The Hillman Fund of Rose Charities Canada has also continued its support for physiotherapy treatment and training in Cambodia through assistance to the Cambodia Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) , as well as assisting in eye surgeon training at the Rose Eye Clinic. ( www.rose-eye.info ) . The Eye clinic has now treated some two hundred thousand patients which will rise to close to a quarter of a million within the next year and a half. It carries out both treatment and training and runs a peripheral outreach program. It is amazing to see where this project has gone from both its origin in 1997 as well as its disaster of 2003 when it was 99% looted of all equipment and gutted by thieves. A huge amount of success has been due to the input and assistance, material, teaching, and consultative assistance of Rose Charities New Zealand, ( www.rose-charities.org ) notably Mike Webber and John Veale. Also of great assistance in the development of the clinic and earlier outreach program(s) with IRIS Cambodia (founded by same founder(s) of Rose ) has been Dr Basant Raj Sharma. ‘Basant’ has taken the past few years to open now his own surgical eye clinic in South Nepal which will include a charity treatment component. Rose NZ will be assisting with this program.
Rose Charities Malaysia ( www.myrosecharity.org ) and Rose Charities Singapore ( www.rosesingapore.info ) have continued their impressive programs of local assistance with health clinics, assisting seniors and children’s programs and delivering health services (Rose Malaysia ) to the indigenous ‘Orang Asli’ people in rural areas. Both organisations set wonderful examples of organisations very well integrated to directly helping those in need in their own regions and have impressive memberships of many volunteers prepared to give their time and efforts for others. Rose Charities in Vietnam with its outstanding history of aid programs both with community development and blind home assistance in the Hue area and orphanage support through Rose Charities UK ( www.rosecharities.org.uk ). Rose Vietnam is currently undergoing restructuring but has potential to carry on its work into the future.
The typhoon Haiyan disaster, although in Nov 2013, carried on its effects into 2014 as did Rose Charities efforts to provide assistance. This was achieved on a considerable scale for Rose Charities with direct assistance (medical team lead by Dr Collin Yong in Negros), and indirect though support to partners such as AMDA medical team(s). All phases of the disaster were assisted from immediate health issues through provision of emergency water purification and solar lighting. The work also included rebuilding the health clinic, the walkway access and a number of fishing boats. The island of Negros, Cebu and Leyete were assisted and this has continued to the present time now with support for a newly designed, typhoon-proof home building program with the ‘Movement for Liveable Cebu’ organisation. These homes have now proved their worth by withstanding the much more recent typhoon Haguput. To support this work considerable funds were raised in Vancouver and Richmond working in conjunction with several groups and charitable individuals, one of the most noteworthy being Mr Alan Yong, cousin of Dr Collin Yong.
While Rose Charities is not primarily an emergency relief organisation we have nevertheless been able to provide considerable assistance over the years during major catastrophes, invariably working on advice and in conjunction with local groups on the ground who have requested assistance. With no budget for advertising and promotion it is probable that well over a million dollars has been raised for the disasters we have been involved with, but more importantly, programs continue to this day in Haiti (sports and community assistance) Tohoku (Japan) (AMDA Health Clinic) and, Sri Lanka (see above) and (as mentioned above) the Philippines. What is more, these assistance programs have been invariably without large, expensive infrastructure and working at grassroots level with virtually all donated funds being spent on crucial basic needs.
One area which illustrates this approach is Rose’s assistance to the current ‘Ebola’ crisis. While the current epidemic is in West Africa the disease is endemic in other parts of Africa and has the potential to spread seriously. Early diagnosis, case handling and treatment is essential to increase survival chances and Rose Charities through the Hillman Fund is now supporting a Ebola health training program in Uganda together with Makere University, both in rural and urban Ugandan areas. Dr Andrew Macnab (Brighter Smiles) and the Hillman Fund, with the HEADA Organisation has also initiated a schoolchild early malaria diagnosis program run by the schools themselves. Early results indicate a considerable reduction in school absentee time generated traditionally by the disease.
The problem of safe birthing and motherhood world-wide is a huge one. The want of education, hygiene, medications and trained helpers claims a heavy toll in mortality. In some countries, such as Afghanistan, a maternal and/or neonatal child death occurs every few minutes. Rose Charities Canada is focusing on this challenge with the formation of its Safe Motherhood and Birthing committee which is partly supported by the Hillman Fund and linking with Rose Charities UK ( www.rosecharities.org.uk ) . Programs now include the impressive Guatemala Safe Motherhood ( www.safemotherhoodproject.org ) training project for local Comadronas (birth attendants) founded by Annette Borkent and Dr Ruth Brighouse. There is also a joint initiative in Pakistan with the Frontier Primary Health Organization and a linked program in Afghanistan with Tabish Health and Community Organisation. In this last case recent progress has now resulted in the first two trained community nurses working in one of the main refugee and displaced persons camps near Kabul. One possible future linkage of this committee is to assist with a new RCRC (Cambodia) incipient birth assistance program.
It would be impossible to end this brief review of the Rose Charities International Network programs, without mention of one of its largest areas: education. World Rose groups support primary schools in Madagascar (Rose Madagascar), Zambia (Malambo Grassroots), Uganda (4 schools – Stand Tall Education ( www.standtalleducation.org ) , Volset, and Brighter Smiles (2), ( www.brightersmilesafrica.ca ), Guatemala (Mayan Project of Dr Ellen Coburn www.mayanproject.org ) and Sri Lanka. In addition there are child education support programs in Uganda (Smiles Uganda founded by Mr Galib Kara), Cambodia and Sri Lanka, and a pre-school program in Sri Lanka also. There is higher education support in Uganda, Zambia and Sri Lanka. In the case of Sri Lanka, these programs have produced many graduates including those in medicine, engineering and law. Advanced training programs are sponsored by the Hillman Fund in Uganda and have included ETATS (Emergency Medicine Training program) as well as advanced GP training. In Cambodia students were assisted in accountancy training and now at the Rose Charities Eye clinic there is training of eye surgeons (assisted by Rose NZ and the Hillman Fund). The full title of the Hillman Fund is the ‘Hillman Medical Education Fund’ and this indicates the importance which is put on training by this Rose group. Many special ‘Hillman scholars’ have been supported over the years for advanced and/or postgraduate training. Earlier mentioned too has been the training of midwives and birth attendants. Vocational training programs in Sri Lanka and Uganda (Brighter Smiles) have helped many to find employment in all areas and there is in-house training in the Rose Sri Lanka head office in the management of programs including micro-credit and business planning. A novel peer-to-peer training program is also supported in Uganda.
Left to the end, but perhaps the most important element of all is fund-raising. None of the spectrum of great Rose projects mentioned could exist without the funding. Once again Rose persons continue to show themselves to be stars holding a panoply of the most varied, enjoyable and energetic fund-raising initiatives. New Zealand to New York, Cambodia to Costa Rica, Uganda to Guatemala, Zambia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines -all have, and continue to hold, events and occasions to raise funds. Rose’s very close partner organisation AMDA, in conjunction with Rose, has for the last 3 years held emergency relief fundraisers in Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver bringing in incredible virtuosos from Japan to play alongside local experts. Athletes ride for funds in the international Vancouver-Whistler Granfondo bicycle race. Events have included sponsored walks in Malaysia, musical evenings in New Zealand, ‘bling’ sales in Vancouver, street hockey tournaments in New York city, a ‘Bollywood dance training and performance evening in Vancouver and sponsored scrabble evenings. Rose Charities Australia even at one stage held a paper aeroplane- making and distance flying competition (one of the events I had a great personal enjoyment in attending) . For all these initiatives and also to our accounting teams who year after year assist with the so important baseline work to keep the organizations going – Bravo !… and a huge thank you.
It is very difficult in a limited ‘thumbnail’ report to present anywhere near enough information of the scale, achievements and diversity of the full Rose network. The above is really only a glimpse over its surface. The bottom line however is that all the programs and achievement are due to one overriding factor. That is the amazing people that Rose Charities is fortunate to be associated with. The network is not a centralised unit; it is, in fact simply a vehicle to help move forward the amazing work of individuals and their own groups of project supporters. The ‘Charity Rose’ award is, every year, awarded to one recipient only. There is no mandate for the awardees to be kept within Rose Charities, yet every year to date, this happens. The reason for this is that when it comes to assessment and vote for the recipient, the achievement and dedication of Rose persons invariably are simply the most outstanding proposed within and without the organisation !
No doubt 2015 will have its ups and downs. In an increasingly wealth-polarised world, however, the need for aid and assistance will not be diminishing. Rose programs will be needed more than ever. In addition the environmental changes of global warming may sadly mean increased natural disaster frequency and severity. Rose Charities now has a track record and experience level generated over its 15 years in formal existence. We are an organisation focused on the most direct assistance we can possibly give with the absolute minimum spent on admin costs. Every time disaster strikes we see many big charity organisations taking up large tracts of expensive media coverage, and most carry out excellent (though often very expensive) programs. Yet time and again, such as in Sri Lanka, Haiti and Tohoku, a year or more after the event, the smaller, grassroots Rose supported programs remain and continue to tend to those who have been affected by the event.
The 7th Rose Charities International Meeting 2015 will be held in the Proyecto San Gerado Costa Rica program site. (March 8 – 10 2015) – see ( www.rosecharities.info/events/rose7-info-pack.zip ) As with all meetings it is a huge opportunity to witness the projects and initiatives and speak to those who run them. In addition there are often amazing presentations of local culture that the average person will simply never witness. No donor money is ever spent on these meetings (unless specifically requested for that use) and delegates all pay their own transport and accommodation. They are informal and always prove a superb forum for networking and exchange of ideas. The meetings are not restricted to Rose personnel and anyone genuinely interested is invited to attend.
Rose Charities People and Programs span many ‘New Years’ – Lunar, Khmer, Hindu, Gregorian etc. The last of these however is now. So for this Gregorian New Year 2014/2015 let me take the opportunity to say ‘Bravo’ to all and everyone, givers, receivers (invariably the same thing), whatever involvement level. Its you that makes everything happen. You are magnificent and have my unparalleled praise and unreserved thanks.
We have just returned from another amazing time in Guatemala training further comadronas, (a.k.a. traditional birth attendants). We spent 2 weeks in a small town called El Rodeo in the Department of San Marcos. This town is situated in the western portion of Guatemala in the lowlands, near the Mexican border. We trained 55 eager students, the majority being comadronas who have been actively working, and the remainder, equal numbers of aspiring comadronas and volunteer ambulance attendants.
Once again, it was remarkable to see the students so intrigued by what they were learning. Their desire to learn was palpable! One of the important aspects of our training is for each student to do a real life interview and examination of a pregnant woman, to use their new knowledge that they have learned by using models and role playing. One of our comadrona students asked each of her patients to come to our course so that everyone in the course would have the opportunity to do a hands-on interview and exam of a pregnant woman. This was a huge gift for those who did not have a pregnant friend, sister, cousin or neighbour to join them for the private clinic which we set up as part of our course. During our second week, a pregnant student offered to have everyone watch Ruth did a live interview and exam on her as an example for the whole class. Awesome participation!
The course was very well received and we had a wonderful graduation ceremony to celebrate the students completing the 5 day courses. The mayor of El Rodeo supplied a wonderful meal for everyone present. We heard many times how much each student appreciated the course.
Since returning home, our team has already been asked to bring our course to 5 other towns! Our Guatemalan teammates will be teaching 3 of these groups throughout the coming months. We hope to be back in Guatemala for training of Trainers next year so that we can reach many more areas. We were unable to train trainers this year due to logistical issues. Our coordinator is working on getting everything lined up to do this for next Feb. We were also able to have meetings with 3 other NGOs in Guatemala in hopes of finding groups to collaborate with. One of these groups expressed a lot of interest in working together. We hope to find others as well in the coming year.
We were excited to learn that the Minister of Health has asked for a meeting with our group in the near future and there is a real possibility that our project will be used as a model by other groups throughout Guatemala. Cenaida, our Guatemalan coordinator, is well prepared to make a presentation about our project. This will include the concept of having a registry of trained trainers and comadronas, at a national level, and to train all comadronas within Guatemala with our comprehensive hands-on course. We could then begin to divide Guatemala into regions with groups of trainers responsible for specific regions. Once a registry is formed, there could be a way of ensuring that trainers, as well as comadronas have a recertification on a regular basis, to keep everyone up to date. The doctor in charge of the doctors in the Dept. (state) of Sololá will also be present at this meeting to speak on our behalf. He has been a promoter of our course for the past number of years and has seen the benefits of our style of teaching. There will also be a representative of the Sololá Dept. of Development.
Things continue to unfold, and many more areas of Guatemala are still in need of training. Thank you all who have and continue to support this project, helping many Guatemalans learn safe birthing skills and saving lives!
|Dr Andrew Macnab. Expert on Health promoting schools
and founder Brighter Smiles Africa
An amazing group of people attended the Jan 2013 Rose Charities Canada Project Forum of varied interests and backgrounds and organizations. A comment from one of the participants summarized it well ‘I cant believe the amount of shere competence and expertise present in this room this evening; The meeting was held again at Creekside Community Centre. False Creek, Vancouver
This year the format was slightly different. instead of fixed presentations the concept was to more to generate debate, comment and constructive participation. In the first half Will Grut of Rose International summarized the network in an individual presentation but invited the various project groups to update as their projects were presented. In the second half a panel consisting of Dr Andrew Macnab ( www.brightersmilesafrica.ca ) , Dr Ruth Brighouse and Annette Borkent (www.safemotherhoodproject.org ) facilitated discussion using aspects of their excellent projects to focus on particular issues.
Food, sushi, dips, cakes, cookies and coffee were kindly provided by some of the participants, notably Dr Diana Carter (UBC Psychiatry Dept)
|Attendees concentrate on a presentation|
Notable attendees in addition to those mentioned above, were Ms Sue Ishii www.amdacanada.org , Nicole Schouela, Honey Halpern and a team from www.standtalleducation.org , Prof. Jane Roskams of the The Ha Mpiti Project/Mathabo Leadership Academy Project, Lesotho, Liz Moss of Proyecto San Gerardo Costa Rica, Luke King of Rose Madagascar www.rosecanada.info/madagascar/ Will Grut represented Roses Cambodia and Vietnam www.rosecambodia.org www.rosevietnam.org and Dr Yoga Yogendran of Rose Sri Lanka Committee www.rosesrilanka.info . International Counsellor (original organizer of 2005 Rose Tsunami post traumatic counselling program) Yaya de Andrade ( see http://rosecharities.blogspot.ca/2009/12/impact-of-disasters-on-children-by-dr.html ) attended as well as Emily McCance and
Pierre Etienne Banville
of the Rose Social Enterprise Committee (see http://rosecharities.org/2012/11/social-enterprise-seminar-vancouver/ ) . The Hillman Fund www.hmef.info were well represented by Dr Joanne Young and Mr Craig Keeting , as were International Health Initiatives, Juliette www.internationalhealthinitiatives.com . Dr Ellen Coburn of www.mayanproject.org Guatemala school project contributed an excellent update. Mrs Janice (and husband Dr David) Wensley of the Safe Motherhood Committee of Rose Charities came as did Rose Charities Canada’s Chair, Maggie Francis and Hon Treasurer Eric Vanderluit Accountant Kevin Simpson, (who carries out pivotal accounting work for Rose Canada) as did a fellow accountant and Rose supporter, Richard McCallum
|Dr Ruth Brighouse and Anne Borkent of Safe Motherhood
The atmosphere of the meeting was stimulating, creative and constructive. Discussions ranged around many areas though focusing on transfer of training and teaching schools. Such skills transfer is very much the focus of the projects (Birthing attendant skills Guatemala and Health Promotion in Uganda) . The Rose Charities network is now fairly broad as well as deep and the forum allowed organizers from dispersed parts of it to meet and exchange ideas.
A big thank you to Maggie Francis (Chair Rose Charities Canada) and Linda Roberts(Rose International Hon Sec) for much of the structuring of the meeting.
Annette Borkent and Ruth Brighouse, directors of the Safe Motherhood Project in Guatemala, have recently returned from a week in Guatemala from Oct. 13-18th. It was very exciting to be in Guatemala, and officially employ a trained Guatemalan midwife, Cenaida Juarez, as the Coordinator of the Safe Motherhood Project. We have been training Traditional Birth Attendants in Guatemala annually since 2003 and Cenaida has been with the project since its inception. Cenaida is ready to take on a much larger role in the implementation of the training of the Traditional Birth Attendants in remote areas of Guatemala. It is very evident that this is a very important step in promoting the independence and self sufficiency of this project. Although this will, for a time, make the project more costly to maintain, it will pave the way for much greater Guatemalan involvement and support. Cenaida’s primary task will be to train others who can teach the birthing course and who, in turn, provide support for local traditional birth attendants.
She will seek out leaders in a variety of communities in rural Guatemala and invite them to come to a “Train the Trainers” course next February. We will have a week of training and then facilitate these new instructors to teach the course the following week. Once they have returned to their villages, Cenaida will go to their towns at some point in the coming year, along with another one or two of our Guatemalan instructors, to assist them in teaching the course to traditional birth attendants in their own area. In short, she will develop a new and growing network of groups who will be teaching traditional midwives the needed skills of safe birthing and neonatal care. It will be great to have Cenaida use her great communication skills to help the project blossom in other areas of Guatemala.
Cenaida told us of the very real possibility of seeking an audience with important members of government and the Ministry of Health (she already has some strong connections). As this will be Cenaida’s employment, she will now be able to use her skills full time to seek support and obtain official recognition of this important course. She sees this as a golden opportunity as there are members at varying levels of government who have an interest in women’s health. These people were voted in last November and have a 4 year term. Cenaida will also link with other small NGOs involved in women’s health issues to see if we can work to enhance expansion of our training and coordinate some activities.
Our trip to Guatemala was an exciting watershed for us. Hiring Cenaida and encouraging the growth of the project with further leaders feels like a natural and progressive step in our continuing work with Guatemalan midwives. We are very fortunate indeed to have such a skilled and dedicated person like Cenaida in this official role and we look forward to exciting further developments.
Sri Lanka: Young Women’s Clubs – 8 villages, Girls sports programs , Women’s University Scholarship Program, Women’s Livelihood Groups (Women’s Support and Women’s Vocational Training. www.rosesrilanka.info
Pakistan: Frontier Primary Health Care support of Traditional Birth Attendant training program www.hmef.info
Cambodia: ‘Access for All’ program for disabled womens education, support and vocational training http://rosecambodia.org
Afghanistan: Tabish-Rose Charities Training Women’s Health and Computer training program’s www.hmef.info
Guatemala: Safe Motherhood women’s birth attendant and women’s health programs www.safemotherhoodproject.org
Zambia: Womens income generation programs http://malambograssroots.ca
Haiti: Women’s neonatal nursing training www.rosehaiti.info
|World Birth aid pack
saves countless lives
We also wish to laud the women’s programs Rose has been privileged to have supported, partnered or planned with, in the past (and perhaps the future too!) including the Lumbini Program for training of Women Village Eye Screeners www.lei.org.np and the remarkable ‘WBDI’ Organization in Samoa, www.womeninbusiness.ws the One in Three Women Organization (Seattle) www.oneinthreewomen.com and World Birth Aid (Seattle) www.worldbirthaid.org
|Haiti Cholera Relief 2010.
Dr Amy Osborne
The organizers of Rose Charities also pay tribute and gratitude to the professional women volunteers (nurses, physicians, counselors, logisticians etc) who have contributed over 50% of involvement, organization and sustainability of emergency relief and ‘post-relief’ operations Rose Charities and close partners AMDA have played over the years. Their magnificent work has helped tens of thousands of victims in many parts of the globe.
|Hurricane Katrina 2005