Costa Rica’s rural population, especially in the south, has fallen far behind their city cousins in access to affordable education and adequately paying jobs. The typical family of 6 survives on $250/month with typical monthly food bills of over $120 alone. Proyecto San Gerardo has been offering an opportunity tolocal people in the villages of Rivas, Perez Zeledón, to stay in their communities and acquire income-generating skills since we were asked to teach English in 2006. Every year an average of 200 students benefit from our English, Computer Skills, Business skills, First Aid and Apprenticeship courses as well as many more enjoying partial to full high school and university scholarships. The project currently provides employment to 3 local women and this year we will expand to 6 to accommodate the demand for Proyecto San Gerardo’s activities. Read more..<click>..
The Hillman Medical Education Fund (HMEF) of Rose Charities Canada was started in 2007 by Dr Liz Hillman in memory of her husband Don and to continue their lifetime’s work supporting health education, especially in East Africa. HMEF’s goal is to support potential leaders in health care and assist them as they build health education projects in their own communities. This year HMEF funded projects are in Uganda, Kenya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Cambodia. Dedicated local leaders run all these projects. They are able to stretch our small grants to achieve big results. Typically grants are under $5000. The HMEF Team in Canada, led by Dr Joanne Young and guided by Dr Liz Hillman are all volunteers of Rose Charities Canada. They volunteer their time and cover any admin costs so that 100% of your donation will be sent to a project.
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!
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
Social Enterprise Seminar 2012.
Held at the Creekside Community Centre Vancouver in Fall 2012, the seminar attracted a group of Rose Charities enthusiasts and supporters with wide interests and areas of involvement. Rose Charities organizers believe very much in sustainability and local support and involvement for all projects and one way to achieve this is to incorporate social enterprise components wherever possible.
The meeting spanned initiatives both at the donor end as well as the field project end, as well as those which bridged both. Moderated by Rose International Members, Linda Roberts and Will Grut, the keynote speaker was Margaret Mason of Bull Housser who outlined some of the basic and most important aspects of social enterprise projects.
From the Vancouver end, the ‘Lot To Give‘ and ‘Give Group‘ programs were presented by Laura Benson and Kris Roberts respectively In principle these are based around the concept of supply of a service either online or through other sources or retail outlet with significant focus on charitable donation. With Give Group this is through real-estate transactions.
From the field, projects presented included Rose Vietnams paper flower making at Than Thien Village, a centuries old historic art which Rose Vietnam has been helping to revive. Beekeeping in coordination with the Bee World Organization in Zambia and Cambodia, brickmaking in Uganda with Dr Andrew Macnabs Brighter Smiles group, and volunteer tourism and elective student field experience trips in Cambodia. Lawrence Keenan, continually one of the main project instigators and supports in Sri Lanka, outlined the current social enterprise initiatives there, including the amazing Rose Sri Lanka microcredit program and other initiatives embracing health and food distribution.
Janine Vertone’s initiative (Ukama Arts) of import and sale of Zimbabwe sculptures , with much of the proceeds being returned for Zimbabwe school support is a project which links both the field and the donor end. The honey projects mentioned above also fit into this category as the Honey Bee Centre in Surrey will, if possible, purchase and import any honey not sold locally through its international projects. Finally Malambo Grassroots in Zambia also has several womens groups who produce handicrafts, some of which are sold in Vancouver
Following presentations were discussions on some of the challenges the projects faced, how they were planned and established as well as future projections. Interchange of ideas was beneficial and interesting and groups came away with new ideas for further development of plans for their areas.
Refreshments were kindly supplied by some of the participants (thank you Linda Roberts) and there was general agreement that the seminar was both beneficial and interesting, and should be repeated in 2013.
While watching his dad struggling with a complex grant application for child education, his son asked why it was so difficult. His father told him that it was so difficult finding the ‘novel approaches’ the donors were looking for, explaining that so many grants now wanted to be new-thinking and different’ . His don looked confused “Whats that got to do with going to school” he said….
Bingo ! KISSS ! ‘Keep it Simple, just Send kids to School !’
The media nowadays try to get the stories which are different, unusual, sensational. Many grant panels are pulled by this process. Understandably they want the publicity (helps they themselves get needed donations). Organizations making light bulbs out of Coke bottles, computers made of of tin-cans etc attract attention.
While these fascinating projects have their place, the fact is, while of little media ‘wow’ , in the developing world, kids want, but huge numbers cant afford, to go to school. More often than not the schools are there, the kids simply cant access them for want of the pitifully small amount of money, perhaps $50 per year which is needed to support the school.
In many cases the actual school building exists (organizations sometimes build, run the school for a while then move on) and there is are teachers available who will work for the barest minimum.
The Jet-Fund is aimed at helping creating a jet-stream of kids to be able to fulfill their dreams of education to help them fly into successful and happy futures. At the moment the fund works very closely with the K2K program(s) in Sri Lanka, though it is being expanded into other parts of Asia and into Africa too.
The fund is administered by an advisory panel of school-children (currently UK) overseen by one or more members of the Rose Charities International Council. No administration costs are taken at the donor country end, though a small percentage (up to 10% absolute maximum) is permitted at the recipient end to ensure proper screening and structuring (as can be imagined demand is colossal and far far outweighs the funding available)
If you’d like to become an ‘Education Jetsetter’ please contact firstname.lastname@example.org , donation page , or DONATE DIRECTLY (via UK site) Note: enter ‘for JET Fund in ‘notes to the Organization’ at the end of the process
Any donation welcomed (however small); or select a specific level,
Jetsetter – Economy: $50 per year (1 kids to school)
Jetsetter – Business: $100 per year (2 kids to school)
Jetsetter – First Class $300 per year (6 kids to school)
Jetsetter – Exec suite $500 per year (10 kids to school)
Jetsetter – Private jet $1000 per year (20 kids to school) ( Private ROSE-Jet registration allocated.. ie. RJET2 < 2, or more,’1′ is already taken ..yippee!> )
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…
Sports Day, Debates and Bus Rides
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us at the Rose Charities Sri Lanka office. The Women’s Sports Meet was a great success as women’s groups from Kalmunai, Pandarippu, Natpaddiumunai and Karaitivu came to participate in a fun day of team building games, skill competitions and social activities. Prizes were handed out to winners while everyone enjoyed a fun-spirited afternoon at the Rose Sri Lanka Head Office.
In the traditional English class, staff are learning how to construct an argument, an important skill in all languages. To display what they have learned, we conducted a class debate between women staff and men staff. The topic was “Women need to have a profession, participate in the work force and the duties at home should be shared between husband and wife.” The girls’ team supported the statement while men were against. It turned out to be a heated debate, demonstrating strong debating skills on both sides. The men of the office stated safety is an issue for young girls and women, especially after dark, limiting a woman’s working hours and freedom to leave the house. On the other hand, the women argued that the more women become professionals the more likely women’s safety will become a priority in society. It was clear that this debate is an important issue among young people in Sri Lanka. Many of the women staff members voiced strong opinions on this issue, attitudes that were certainly formed well before the debate assignment.
Sonia and I spent the weekend at Arugam Bay surfing, swimming and enjoying the beautiful Sri Lankan beach. On our way home, we opted to take the public transit to Kalmunai. About a half hour outside of Kalmunai, a woman boarded the bus with bags of flour and many supplies. She had gone to a neighboring town to purchase ingredients and supplies. As she turned around and saw Sonia and I on the bus her face lit up as she recognized us from the Rose’s Women’s Meet last week. She then exclaimed to the entire overcrowded bus that we were from Canada working in Kalmunai for Rose Charities, an organization that had lent her money to start her small business. As soon as she said the word “Rose” we could see that many people recognized the name and looked at us with gratitude and excitement.
As a token of her appreciation she handed us two small bags of kurakan flour, a type of flour used to make string hoppers and puttu (my favorite Sri Lankan meal). She then quickly jumped off of the moving bus with her luggage and gracefully placed the heavy bags of flour on the crest of her head. As the bus pulled away we watched her balance the bags, weaving in and out of street traffic and into a side street.
The last week has demonstrated the strength, generosity and intelligence of the Sri Lankan people, especially the women. Whether at the Women’s Sport Meet, in the office among the staff or on the bus, we can’t help but appreciate the independent spirit of all of the women we meet.