All posts by gwillg

Haiti Children & Youth Project: spring 2022

Dear friends,
As spring arrives, with flowers blooming and warmer weather, we trust and hope that you are all healthy and well. EmojiEmojiEmoji
 This first 2022 update on the Haiti Children & Youth project summarizes the latest news and introduces two new programs.

Voix d’Espoir Communautaire, Voice of Community HopeEvery two years our partner non-government organization (NGO) in Haiti is required to renew their NGO designation. With the expansion of the project to two communities, Lavalee and also Jacmel, when renewing NGO status this year the Haitian leaders decided to change the name of the NGO to “Voix d’Espoir Communautaire” (VECOM) instead of the previous name “Source d’Espoir Communautaire” (SECOM). VECOM is now the umbrella NGO for all Haiti Children & Youth Project activities and SECOM refers to project activities only in Lavalee.

2022 Youth Retreat (see photos below)  Two Youth Retreats were held simultaneously at the end of February this year, one in Lavalee and one in Jacmel. The planning of these two events was exciting as this was the first Youth Retreat in Jacmel and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the last Youth Retreat in Lavalee took place early 2020.

In Lavalee 35 teens and young adults attended the retreat, in Jacmel 33 participated. About eighty percent of the attendees in Jacmel are orphans. Both programs involved singing, drama, health education, and nutritious meals/snacks. The program in Jacmel also offered a cooking lesson and watching movies.

Youth in Jacmel and Lavalee were grateful for what they learned at the retreat and for the few days of social recreation together. Some of the youth in Jacmel expressed how thankful and happy they were to be able to attend a great program during the annual five day Haitian Carnival. They commented that the Youth Retreat provides a “safer” environment than the one they would be exposed to if they went to Carnival which is colorful and fun but also involves alcohol, drugs, sexual activities. The youth in Lavalee were very glad that the Youth Retreat could finally resume again after it was postponed for two years. They expressed their appreciation for all the work the project is doing in their community.

Soccer Camp  After having to postpone the annual Soccer Camp for two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, planning has begun for the next Soccer Camp in Lavalee and for the first Soccer Camp in Jacmel this August 2022. Jean is hoping to be in Haiti for both camps and for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project received another large donation of soccer uniforms from the Vancouver United Football Club as well as some soccer uniforms from the Cliff Avenue United Football Club in Burnaby, about 1000 soccer jerseys in total. The uniforms from Cliff Avenue Football Club were collected for two years during the pandemic by a thoughtful friend. Jean is in the process of finding a viable option to transport the uniforms to Haiti.

Education Support  During both Soccer Camps this summer the project will again distribute school supplies and school bursaries to orphans and other low income students.

Jacmel Program UpdateWith recent political insecurity and rising inflation in Haiti, food is even more expensive which makes it very difficult for parents and guardians to feed their families. Our leaders noticed that the children and youth who attend the Jacmel program are hungry most of the time so are unable to focus well on their studies. Starting at the end of April this year, with generous financial support from a new donor, the project has been able to provide a small meal or nutritious snack when students come to the project office to study and hang out before or after their classes. Project volunteers prepare bread and peanut butter, pasta, or potatoes/cassava/plantain with fish sauce along with fruit, vegetables, or juice. The leaders report that since this food program began a few weeks ago it is already evident that the kids and teens are better able to concentrate on their school work.

Medical Assistance  In Haiti individuals have to pay directly for any medical services or treatment they require, there is no medical insurance and there is publicly funded medical care. Most of the orphans and other people in the communities where we work cannot afford to see a doctor even when they are sick.
In March this year the project started a medical assistance fund with small donations from two regular donors, a total of $190 Canadian. This fund has already helped four orphans and two elderly widows. One orphan was suffering pain in his abdomen. He able to see a doctor and have a few medical tests to receive a diagnosis then purchase the prescribed medication which has effectively resolved his pain. Another orphan had a motorcycle accident on his way to school and was able to be examined by a doctor right away. These two youth expressed their gratitude for this new program because without the assistance it provided they would not have been able to receive any medical treatment. A third orphan, a 5 year old boy, has asthma. The project was able to help this child’s caregiver purchase the medication, inhalers, that the child needs for his asthma symptoms to be well managed.

Earthquake ReliefThis past February and March 2022 the project distributed the remainder of the Emergency Relief funds in Les Cayes and completed follow up with all the recipients of this aide. The project was able to help re-establish a total of 321 families in the city of Les Cayes after the devastating 7.2 earthquake in the southeast of Haiti last August 2021.

We are extremely grateful for your interest in the Haiti Children & Youth project.  

Sincerely,

Jean & Terri Lubin
Rose Charities ‘Haiti Children & Youth Project’

Links for online donation:

Rose Charities CanadaDonate to Projects in Central America and the Caribbean | Rose Charities Canada

ukraine child and family victims fundraiser, vancouver

Vancouver Sat 9th April 2022. 6pm. York Theatre (‘The Cultch’)

One Night Stand for Ukraine Families and Children

An evening of comedians (two performances) with funds going to the Rose Charities Canada Ukraine War victim fund for families and children. The proceeds will assist with orphan relocation and refugees and supplying much needed equipment and materials for Lviv Childrens Hospital as it is hit by wave upon wave of desperate refugees . www.1nightstand.org

Direct donations here please, and a huge thank-you here..

Malambo Grassroots Zambia Year End 2021 update

Despite many setbacks, Malambo Grassroots continues to meet the needs of our rural communities in Southern Province, Zambia, thanks in part to our big-hearted donors. In 2021, Zambia experienced two new waves of COVID and is in the midst of a third (the omicron variant). We distributed hundreds of masks and soap to villages and schools and we’re now organizing vaccination clinics.

Our partner school recovered from a fire in May that destroyed its chicken incubator, a vital income-generating project. In November, the head teacher’s convent home was broken into and she lost many tools (like her laptop) that help her do her work. A few generous donations will increase security.

We planted over 300 more tree seedlings (fruit and native species) to provide food and mitigate climate change in the region. We’re excited to start a new solar project and installed panels, batteries, and lights in the homes of 28 elders.

Through scholarships, supplies, and food, we continue supporting students of all ages.

We feel incredibly grateful to work with the local Tonga people, who inspire and amaze us daily with their talents, perseverance, and resilience. We wish you all a healthy and peaceful holiday and new year.

Supporting grassroots development in Zambia: www.malambograssroots.ca
Or follow Malambo Grassroots on Facebook

Safe Motherhood Guatemala update Jan 2022

The Guatemalan Safe Motherhood Project continues to make progress, in spite of the pandemic. We in Canada have been in bimonthly contact via Zoom with our Guatemalan teammates. Because of travel restrictions, teaching in other communities has been replaced with a new clinic, providing prenatal care to local pregnant women and holding prenatal discussion groups, as well as addressing topics beyond pregnancy and birth, including breastfeeding, alcohol and other substance use disorders, domestic violence, nutrition, and supporting teen mothers.

Here in Canada we’ve been having a meeting every 5-6 weeks with a primary focus on trying to find corporate sponsors as well as granting foundations. Our long-term goal is to expand our training courses with more teams. We hope to be able to travel to Guatemala once again in the fall of 2022. Our team will be able to train a number of further trainers to bring our hands-on course to many more remote areas, so as to make a larger impact in fewer years. The need remains huge and more trained teams are needed in order to impact the lives of so many marginalized, poverty-stricken families (primarily indigenous) in Guatemala. With persistence, further funding will allow this.

More including donation window

Haiti earthquake 2021: The relief work continues..

Rose Charities Haiti Children and Youth Project’s extensive local grassroots contact in the area has ensured a penetration of response rapidly to street level. Wherever possible local materials and purchasable items are being acquired which not only assist with those who have lost homes and assets but also helps to support and recover the local economy.

Assistance continues to be focussed on the Les Cayes region which was one of the worst to be affected by the quake and subsequent storm damage. Local team members move around the area recording the needs of individual families and groups and feeding the information back to the organizers who assist with materials, food or even cash.

Often in these situation, while supplies and materials may be available there are a great number of small needs which prevent their usage. Such simple items as cooking oil or cooking apparatus itself can make a huge difference. Tarpaulins, tool (for livelihood) replacement, some money to pay for medications (cash is always carefully monitored and followed up, but remains a hugely important assistance vehicle, often overlooked in such situations).

Rose Charities has a 20 year plus history of disaster relief in all parts of the world . Always it is noticed that with all natural disasters, while the focus of the media soon moves away other world issues, the deprivation and suffering continue for months into years. It is one of the principles of Rose Charities to remain helping for as long as resources area available and/or needs remain. This has been achieved time and time again. Indeed it was the terrible Haiti Earth Quake of 2010 and subsequent cholera outbreak which established Rose Charities program(s) in Haiti in the first place and from which Haitian Founder Jean Lubin and his wife Terri, run their incredible Rose Children and Youth program now within the earthquake zone.

Donations very gratefully received and go (as described above) directly to the needy in the affected zone, with almost zero (and mostly local so into local economy) admin costs.

Haiti Earthquake August 2021 Rose relief Efforts

At 8.29am on Saturday 14th August mainly south-western Haiti was hit by a 7.2 Richter scale magnitude earthquake. The Rose Haiti Children and Youth Program in the Lavalee-Jacmel area was less affected (some buildings/homes damaged but not collapsed and no deaths) and there has been considerable damage in the areas significantly shaken by the quake / in several areas on the south-west arm of the country. To date 7000 injured and around 1500 deaths. To compound problems a tropical storm (Cyclone Grace residual) has struck the area bringing still more hardship to the homeless and carrying the risk of flash floods with the large quantities of rain it is bringing.

As per usual, Rose Charities takes every measure to assist in areas where it already has involvement utilizing local staff and resources to minimize the logistics and high cost of flying in special personnel and materials. Its long term (since the 2010 Haiti Earthquake) presence means that the staff have a huge, nation-wide network of grassroots contacts who know exactly what and where aid is needed and are able to deliver it. This a model which has worked with incredible cost-effectiveness to provide real, ground-level one-on- one assistance to many parts of the world.

Jean and Terri Lubin, founders of Haiti Children and Youth and two of the most experienced, active and dedicated members of the Rose Charities Canada team are currently implementing aid efforts. Jean is Haitian and Terri has spent many years in the area.

The main damage, while not affecting Haiti Children and Youth, is nevertheless very close to the region where it operates (equally South, only further West). The team is well placed to provide assistance.

Donations to Rose Charities Haiti Earthquake relief are greatly appreciated and may be made here https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/rose-charities

Photo: Rose Charities

Help for B.C Wildfire emergency

Rose Charites Canada is supporting the SFH (Disaster Aid Canada) efforts to provide emergency materials and provisions for the disastrous B.C. wildfires which have been sweeping the province in the wake of record high temperatures ( 40 – 47 deg) .

Having experienced weather temperature of 47 degrees (117 def F) the town of Lytton in S.Central B.C. was almost entirely annihilated by fire which moved with devastating speed and ferocity and resulted in two fatalaties.

SFH was quick to send urgently needed materials such as clothing, sleeping bags etc.

Covid Emergency Nepal: masks for the community

Rose Charities Canada has sent funds for the Rose Nepal Programs Group under Ms Sarala Adhikari to urgently supply around 3000 medical masks, primarily for people in the Pharping area with a focus on kids. While the protective benefits of mask wearing have become well appreciated in the area, simple lack of having them has been impeding their usage. Great work Nepal Group !

The Freedom of No Malaria!

Since 2916 Dr Andrew Macnab’s (Rose Charities Canada / Rose Uganda Support Group) amazing schools based malaria abatement program in Uganda has been delivering outstanding results. The highly endemic disease accounts for thousands of missing days of education in a young population desperate to attain the maximum benefit from school attendance. Teachers are trained to recognize early symptoms and then confirm them with a simple and relatively cheap kit test. Artemsia based drugs (as approved by the WHO ) can be then started immediately in situ, and, being quick acting, take effect early to reduce the childs convalescent absence period from days to possibly only hours. (https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/45/6/1759/2670325 )

Children, teachers, parents all love the program and its success has been attested to now for the last 5 years. A huge success for Uganda, Rose teams but above everything the kids and their families !

Women’s higher education sponsorship. .. rose Nepal’s wonderful ‘buhari’ program

Rose Nepal ‘Buhari’ trainees. Advanced education for women

‘Buhari’ means married women / daughters in law.   This is the name that Rose Nepal gives to its advanced education program for women.   It is well documented that women’s education is one of the most effective parameters in advancing communities in all areas in almost every parameter index, from health, poverty reduction, peace  and Rose Nepal promotes these strongly in it Buhari program.  The program operates from the rural Pharping area of the Kathmandu Valley.  Notable (see image)  is  Sushima Thapa magar, one of the best achieving students to date from Kopu Village close to graduating in Engineering and Architecture.  She will be the first female Rose-Engineering graduate from this small community.

Sponsorships  in the Buhai Program and run at around CAD 600 per student per year which include both tuition (CAD 300 appx) and living / course material costs.(CAD 300 appx)  It is hard to find an initiative of better value as it creates both a active, involved and hugely needed future for the student herself, as well as a panoply of secondary benefits for her family, community, region and country.   Partial assistance (ie covering a proportion of the costs at any level) are equally welcomed and will be pooled by Rose to complete the amount for a full Buhari Scholarship. 

Donate to this program (select Nepal Education and Community from drop-down)

Firefighters learn to deliver guatemalan babies ! .. rose charities canada safe motherhood program

2020 marks the 18th year of the Safe Motherhood Project in Guatemala, a four to five day hands-on education program for Mayan midwives who are called comadronas, Guatemalan volunteer firemen/paramedics who are called bomberos, and other healthcare workers involved in maternity care.  We have now taught over 1280 students, skills helpful in managing obstetrical emergencies.  We have always intended that these skills complement the traditional birthing practices of Mayan comadronas.  The goal is to help reduce maternal and newborn mortality.

Fifty percent of the Guatemalan population identifies as indigenous, Maya.  The majority of the Mayan population in Guatemala lives rurally and does not have easy access to health care services.  While giving birth has become safer in the urban areas of Guatemala over the past twenty years due to proximity to a system of National Hospitals, giving birth rurally is still fraught with risk; hospital care is often a distance away, and maternal mortality and newborn mortality rates are much higher among the rural population in the country.   Our course targets comadronas and bomberos in the rural highlands of Guatemala.

The global pandemic caused by the SARS CoV2 virus has had a huge impact on our project this year.  Just before global cases of COVID 19 surged, from January 9 to January 26, Annette Borkent, RN, Ruth Brighouse, MD, and Birte Pachen, RM, travelled to Guatemala to join our Guatemalan teammates, Cenaida Juarez, project coordinator and instructor; Gloria Cotuj, comadrona and instructor; and Gaby Castellanos, nutritionist and instructor.  Together we taught 15 experienced comadronas in Santiago Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in the department of Solola.  All of our students were very satisfied with the course remarking how practical it was and how useful it would be to apply the skills learned in a rural home birth.   We had a wonderful closing ceremony where each student received their course diploma, manual, and birthing kit of supplies.  We were fortunate to use the facilities at the POWHER School, run by Salvando Madres.  POWHER is an NGO that also offers courses and assistance to the comadronas of the municipality of Santiago Atitlan.  We required translation assistance from Chonita one of POWHER’s instructors, as most students spoke the Mayan dialect of Tzutuil.  During this time we met American and Mexican midwives volunteering at the school and also at a Casa Materna (birth house)  in San Juan La Laguna, a community across the lake from Santiago.  Check our facebook page, “The Safe Motherhood Project” to see videos of us in action this year.

For the second week of our sojourn we planned to teach in San Juan La Laguna, but the group requesting our course cancelled the course just days before our arrival.  Always adaptable, we seized the opportunity to teach 57 school girls aged 10 to 13 years.  We taught the girls about female anatomy, menstruation, teen pregnancy, and the right to say “NO” to sexual advances. Teen pregnancy is a huge problem in Guatemala.  Each student was allowed to ask questions anonymously by writing her question on a piece of paper that was placed in our basket.  We jumbled the pieces of paper and drew questions and provided answers.  This was very successful.  This type of educational project would tie in nicely with the Days for Girls project where re-usable menstrual pads and panties are provided in a kit to each adolescent girl.  Unfortunately we had not budgeted for these supplies which we could have obtained for a cost from the local branch of Days for Girls.

We also took time to provide practice updates to our Guatemalan teammates and re-certify them on the various topics we teach.  We often do not have time during our trips to provide continuing education to our instructors.  This was a timely opportunity.  We also spent time updating our manual to be more commensurate with the Guatemalan Department of Public Health health promotion materials.

Finally, we were invited by three bomberos that we had taught three years prior, to Chichicastenango, Quiche, population, 75,000.  They shared stories of how valuable our course had been for them.  They had been called to a number of birthing emergencies and were able to save the lives of both mothers and babies using the techniques we had taught.  They wanted us to come to their city to offer a course to their bombero colleagues, which was planned for April 2020.

And then the virus struck globally and a pandemic was declared which halted our team’s activites abruptly in March…..

It is unfortunate that so many worthwhile projects have been placed “on hold” during this pandemic.  We have also suspended our fundraising activites given the current uncertainty.

We have been convinced by the students we’ve taught of the value of our “hands on” teaching model.  We believe this course is truly valuable and deserves to continue.  This hiatus will allow us to solicit funds from larger funding agencies in addition to our usual individual donors.

We have a positive balance in the bank.  While Guatemala is under curfew, there may still be useful activities our Guatemalan teammates can undertake in the next few months.  It is our hope to have a broader reach with our birthing emergencies course throughout Guatemala.  To do that we will need to train a larger and more geographically diverse group of instructors.  We hope to have some success with larger funding agencies who share our vision.

Annette Borkent. Founder Safe Motherhood Program Guatemala