Category Archives: Health Education

CIDI: Integrating Govt and NGO rehabilitation programs 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.

Neonatal Resuscitation Course Haiti: March 2013. Linda and Andrew Warner write.. !

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Linda-Hard to believe I am back in Port-au-Prince for the fourth time since the big earthquake in January of 2010. I am grateful to be part of a Rose Charities sustainable project to facilitate a neonatal resuscitation course, as previously requested by many health care professionals in Haiti. On my trip last year I saw firsthand the need for neonatal support, as 5 babies died on my unit in a week at the hospital. Even though the care there was excellent, financial resources are limited, and the staff can benefit from supportive education, equipment and facilitation of resources. Rose Charities is building upon several other trips of surveying Haitian doctors and nurses, networking and teaching certification classes to now offer another day of certifying several trainers, and two full days of teaching a standardized neonatal resuscitation course to approximately 70 nurses and doctors from various hospitals in Haiti to improve care for infants and neonates in Haiti.  I am thrilled to have my 15 year old son Andrew with me filming a documentary about this project, and he is very excited to be here (it is great he speaks French!).  My heart was warm as we flew in today, and I was pleased to see that the airport has been completely renovated since I was here last April, further evidence that positive change is possible and it is real.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Andrew – Today was “preparation day” for the big week ahead. I have to say it feels weird staying in an almost resort-looking type of place, when there’s so much else outside these gates that I am blind to. I was expecting to arrive at a dirt airport, then drive over to some small house to sleep on the floors. As  per usual in life, nothing is as expected. First of all the airport had a baggage system similar to ours with air-conditioned rooms and even a duty-free store, and considering I was expecting rubble, this was a huge difference. My mom said there have been huge renovations since she was here last, which seems like a good thing. Living in this… Resort/Hotel/Lodge… When there is so much poverty outside, feels wrong. I would feel so much better if I wasn’t so secluded from everyone, I wish I could live with the people rather than safely here. I have to say today was very relaxing though, it gave me a chance to rest from travel before the interviews ahead. I am so relieved to finally be able to stay in this beautiful country of Haiti, however even here, I am still facing first world problems and sometimes don’t realize that I am making them. Things like ” no wifi ” and ” uncharged electronics” really make me feel bad when I see people who have hardly anything living in tiny tents and sheds. I am excited for the week ahead and can’t wait to see and explore more of this amazing country.


Wed, March 13, 2013

Linda-the teaching has begun and we are bursting at the seams, having had to turn away many doctors and nurses from this neonatal resuscitation course. The first day was “training the trainers”,  11 doctors and nurses who are assisting with two full days of teaching fresh students! This was a crazy day…on a break we were getting a tour of the hospital and happened upon a 27 week old premie that was blue and in severe distress. Our team sprang  into action and got that baby’s little heart beating again!  Sadly, the baby will not likely make it as there are many other complications, but it was a good team effort, and reminder of what is possible with adequate education and equipment.
Today was a full day of teaching doctors and nurses the NRP course, and we put to good use the trainers we taught on the first day.  The students are so keen and appreciative of the course it is a joy to facilitate!  Andrew and Michael interviewed the head of Pediatrics along with a nurse and 2 pediatric residents, who they had very distinct and insightful observations about health care in Haiti and how best to support it (stay tuned!).
Tonight I ate giraumon (pumpkin) soup, a Haitian specialty dish, and it was delicious! Although I am not a beer fan, I am loving the Haitian beer Prestige in the heat after a long day! My sister and nephew tried to order the Haitian delicacy of cabrite, or goat, but alas they were out :).  We also met up with Einstein Albert, who brought his beautiful Haitian bowls to sell. My new friends Doctors Marie-Josee and Genevieve from Montreal have been amazing instructors of the NRP course, and on top of keeping me in stitches have improved my French immensely!

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Andrew– this week was great. Tuesday, started us off filming at Dr. Lerebours’ office at Hopital Communaute Haitienne, where my mother worked right after the earthquake. Had a great interview with her and it was awesome to see her perspective. She also brought in a family with a Down’s syndrome child for me to interview. After about an hour we went with Jackie LeBrom on a tour around the city. Having lived in Haiti for around 15 years as a tour guide, she really knows her stuff. It was really awesome to see how much history that the country has, and yet very few realize it or even appreciate it. Haiti really is more beautiful than people realize. It is also a country with so any opposites, like poverty and beauty, people in desperation and people with hope. The sights, smells and sounds are also very intense and contradictory, like the smell of delicious food at the same time as rotting garbage piled high on the sidewalk. I kept thinking there was a fire outside every day until I realized it was the coal they cook with as so many of them do not have ovens, let alone homes. I watched a group burn tires as an act of protest. I thought that in a country with a culture so unique to the rest, even the protesters were different from any I have ever heard of. I had a good interview later with Jackie, especially with her outside perspectives.
     The next day we spent filming RoseCharities’ neonatal resuscitation program interviewing students and doctors all around. It was an experience unlike any other to be able to feel progress almost as if it were tangible, mainly because the impact is so lasting, and the students in theclass were so appreciative. I am also so thankful for our healthcare here in Canada. I have to say it is crazy to be able to watch this develop as we are educating future pediatricians and doctors to actually be able to save babies’ lives when it wasn’t always possible before.
     Now we are in Wahoo Bay, enjoying the ocean’s wind and the marvellous sunset, here is truly one of the places where Haitian beauty is easily seen.
     -Andrew Warner

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Linda-well, we took the weekend off to thoroughly enjoy the beauty of Haiti and the turquoise sea at Wahoo Bay! Beautiful gardens, fresh seafood, friendly people, Haitian music and lots of time to relax! Unfortunately, Andrew had gastro for half of the weekend, but my little filmmaker has been a real trooper! Wahoo Bay is about an hour from Port-au-Prince, and the resort is part of a rebranding program for emphasizing the positive facets of Haiti, for which there are many. As we have traveled through the streets, I am thrilled to see so much improvement and development since I was here following the earthquake three years ago! Many foreign countries have been frustrated with not seeing immediate change in response to a lot of donations, but in a country with little infrastructure one needs to have patience, and more importantly, faith. The people here have such a desire to participate in change, but it takes time, money, education, facilitation of skills and equipment, and above all, it is important to ask the Haitians themselves their priorities and needs, instead of a multitude of well meaning NGOs storming in with contradictory ideas and assumptions. It’s all about empowerment. The philosophy with Rose Charities has been focused on “a hand up, not a hand out” and “teaching a man to fish”, based on a needs assessment survey to the Haitians themselves, and that is why I am proud to be part of this project.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013-Lespwa

Linda-these are the faces, the hearts that haunt my soul…the reason I come back to Haiti…again, and again, and again, and again. Since visiting the beauty of the sea on the weekend, we have traveled to film at several hospitals in Port-au-Prince. We interviewed nurses, pediatricians and medical directors, along with families whose children have conditions that are usually treatable, fixable, or preventable in Canada. We wanted to assess the greatest needs for health care according to the people of Haiti, and to gain insight as to how we can best support that as a country, as a charity organization, and as fortunate human beings that are blessed to have just been born in a different place.
As much as my friends back home have nicknamed me “the Icewoman” for rarely shedding a tear back home, I cannot say the same is true in Haiti. It broke my heart to see children with hydrocephalus (swelling on the brain) that could have been easily prevented with access to a neurosurgeon, to see babies with disease related to malnutrition simply because they were starving, children with typhoid or other vaccine preventable diseases, and babies that didn’t survive simply because the doctors and nurses who are keen to learn do not have the training or the equipment to save these lives. The little baby I hold in the photo above has spina bifida, and his surgery was delayed for over a month because Haiti has no pediatric neurosurgeons. The worried mom was overjoyed when I told her my beautiful 17 year old niece Katie also has spina bifida, and has a wonderful life, playing sports and doing well at school with a gazillion friends, and that she even just got her driver’s license with an adapted car! Our discussion gave this mom hope, which in Creole is “lespwa”, and that is the basis of survival for this nation.

Volset School Uganda: big heart, happy kids, but great needs…


Around 2 hours drive away from Kampala along a rutted non paved road near the village of Mukono, Uganda, lies the Volset School. The school gives education to some 160 kids, most of them from very deprived backgrounds.   The school does great work and the kids are happy, but is still very poor and is in need of many resources.  Nevertheless it does manage to get some assistance, including through Rose Charities and that way manages to keep going .

The shool identifies its most pressing needs as  1) sponsorship for students, 2) refurbishment and construction of more teaching space, 3) establishing a more secure water supply (probably a bore-hole),  finding one or two used donated computers to teach computer skills.

Despite hardships,  Directors Lydia Nansukusa, and Festus Bazira never give up hope.  Festus explained his vision for the school to me. These are our ‘Diplomats of the Future’ he said of his kids..

Around 2 hours drive away from Kampala along a rutted non paved road near the village of Mukono, Uganda, lies the Volset School. The school gives education to some 160 kids, most of them from very deprived backgrounds.   The school does great work and the kids are happy, but is still very poor and is in need of many resources.  Nevertheless it does manage to get some assistance, including through Rose Charities and that way manages to keep going .

The shool identifies its most pressing needs as  1) sponsorship for students, 2) refurbishment and construction of more teaching space, 3) establishing a more secure water supply (probably a bore-hole),  finding one or two used donated computers to teach computer skills.

Despite hardships,  Directors Lydia Nansukusa, and Festus Bazira never give up hope.  Festus explained his vision for the school to me. These are our ‘Diplomats of the Future’ he said of his kids..


Excellence in Education: Uganda March 2013

Kampala, Uganda, will see Rose Charities, partner organizations, supporters and anyone interested meeting to discuss and hear presentations on education and health training.   Rose Charities organizations ‘Brighter Smiles‘  and Stand Tall Education will be the main organizers but input from others such as the Hillman Fund , HEADA , Greater Learning is anticipated. Topics will be widespread but cover such interesting areas as peer-to-peer education, health promoting schools (Dr Andrew Macab is an expert in this field), goal focus  and enrichment of the education process, and new health promoting and training initiatives. There will be visits to the project sites of Stand Tall and Brighter Smiles, and (on Sat 9th) a strong discussion involvement by school children themselves.  The goal is to educate and increase the practical  knowledge base of participants, network and update on current areas of success in new health and education initiatives.

The conference is open without charge (up to a certain seating limit, after which a charge may be requested ) to an genuinely interested and/or group representatives.

Download program and information sheet and registration form   nb these sheets will be continually updated so please call back and repeat also)

Rose Charities Canada Jan 2013 Project Forum

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 ( ) ,  Dr Ruth Brighouse and Annette Borkent  ( ) 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 , Nicole Schouela, Honey Halpern and a team from  ,  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  Will Grut represented Roses Cambodia and Vietnam  and Dr Yoga Yogendran of Rose Sri Lanka Committee . International Counsellor (original organizer of 2005 Rose Tsunami post traumatic counselling program) Yaya de Andrade ( see )  attended as well as Emily McCance and
Pierre Etienne Banville
of the Rose Social Enterprise Committee  (see ) . The Hillman Fund were well represented by  Dr Joanne Young and Mr Craig Keeting , as were International Health Initiatives, Juliette .  Dr Ellen Coburn of 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.


Cambodia Medical Elective program 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…

Sight-saving truck for Cambodia: with love from NZ !

Rose Charities NZ has donated the funds for a truck to Rose Cambodia Eye/Sight Centre for their outreach program.  Collecting for the truck was primarily orchestrated by Mr Mike Webber, Optometrist and Rose Laureate 2009,  of Wanganui  who worked tirelessly to see the project through. In Mach 2012 a fundraser was held  ( which hosted over 110 people and, thanks to the Wanganui attendees,  raised over $NZ5000. The remainder was donated with huge generosity by a private NZ Foundation which specifically targets international projects which have outstanding cost effectiveness (as the Eye Centre does) .

The Rose Cambodia Sight Centre / Eye Clinc has now been operating since 1997, some 15 years (at the time of writing). It has treated well over 100,000 Cambodians the majority of who have been extremely poor, giving them free or low cost blindness preventing treatments or restoring sight mainly through cataract operations.
Many of the techniques for low cost eye surgery have historically been thanks to great New Zealanders such as Ray Avery or Fred Hollows so the centre carries on a  a long and distinguished NZ history
Rose Charities New Zealand’s relationship with the Cambodia Sight Centre was initiated by John Veale (Optometrist Christchurch) in the year 2000 who then introduced Mike Webber and Dr David Sabiston (retired). The three have spent over a decade working with Drs Hang (clinic co founder) and Natalia Vra suppling materials, equipment, and most importantly of all, their considerable expertise to help bring the clinic to the leading eye Centre it is today in Cambodia.
In recent years, outreach programs for village level screening and eye care promotion have played an increasingly important role. Some of the roads to the villages become almost impassable in the wet season so a strong vehicle is needed, both for access and to be able to return patients to the clinic.
The truck is a fantastic gift, so needed: it will be pivotal in the continuation and expansion of delivery of high quality eye care to poor Cambodians.   Thank you Wanganui and other generous donors !

A Tale of Two Women (and thousands of lives saved… !)

This is the story of two women.  One woman uses a piece of clean string and a clean razor blade.   With  it she saves,  scores, hundreds, probably thousands of lives. The people she saves are mothers and their babies. The mothers have given birth where there is no medical assistance.  Lack of hygiene, lack of knowledge, even some traditional practices in severing the umbilical cord provide the fertile conditions for infection. Sometimes mud or even cow dung are used to apply to the raw ends of the cord.  The clean string is used simply to tie the cord and the sterile blade to cut it. .

Now the woman makes up cheap kits. They simply contain instructions, soap, sterile string and blade and some.  All it takes to save two lives is a clean pad, soap, razor blade, a length of string and a set of illustrated instructions.  Each kit will save 2 lives.  The kits are quietly  distributed to where they are needed thoughout the world.

The other woman who follows the same path. She travels to rural Central America with a small team to carry the same simple message and taking also, birthing kits with her.   Year after year she returns and year after year she finds more women who, having seen the results of what she has been teaching others, wish to learn. Her course lasts 4 days. The woman  educates child birth attendants to wash their hands. Thousands of women die every year because of not doing this. She educates them in the simple things that will save.

Both women know that 820,000 women die because of  childbirth every year; 99% of them are in developing countries.  They know that, worldwide, a woman dies in childbirth every 40 seconds.  They know that three quarters of the 4 million babies who die every year could be saved by simple interventions. They know that so many women simply have no access to safe medical facilities (in Bangladesh for example only 9% of births take place in clinics or hospitals)   They know the grief and suffering of so many families through these events.

So quietly, simply, they have rolled up sleeves and helped.  No full spread media campaigns, no double-space TV ads, no fleets of white SUV’s, no first-class  ‘celebrity spokesperson’ visits. They just do it themselves, unsung heroes, quietly saving lives…


Third Nursing Course in Haiti

We recently completed a third nursing course for nurses and doctors in Haiti which was incredibly successful. We also managed to send equipment for the hospital as well as new text books for the nursing students. Madame Duvilaire (General Secretary of the Haitian Nurses Association) wrote to us saying: “The EINDPS, Jeremie (a town outside Port-au-Prince) has received the books from Rose Charities and the dean, the teachers and the students are very delighted. EINDPS School of nursing thank specially Rose Charities for this donation who will help 140 students and their teachers give better care and receive updated instead of outdated instructions”. We are already planning another course for 2012 which will continue our support of the Haitian nursing Association after the Haitian earthquake.