‘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.
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
We are sad to announce the passing on of Dr. Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Hillman, pivotal figure in the Rose Charities Canada and the whole Rose Charities Family. Liz both contributed in expertise and/or initiated multiple Rose Charities programs (under her special ‘Hillman Fund’ division) both in Africa and Asia. She was always one of Rose Charities topmost mentors and advisors.
Dr Elizabeth Hillman grew up in Northern Ontario with no roads, schools, or healthcare. She and her family lived in a retired railway car that was converted into a schoolhouse; the schoolhouse traveled to a different town each week, where her parents would teach the children of local workers. Dr Hillman went on to graduate from medical school at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in 1951. She then completed postgraduate training in pediatrics from five different schools in three countries.
For 20 years, Dr Hillman was Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics including Emergency, Management of Child Abuse, and the Poison Control Centre at Montreal Children’s Hospital. For four years, she served in Kenya with a McGill-Kenya CIDA-funded project to develop a pediatric program at the University of Nairobi, alongside her husband, Dr Donald Hillman, and their five children. She and her husband worked as global medical consultants in several Asian and African countries.
Dr Hillman was the first female president of the Medical Council of Canada and both she and her husband led active roles in the Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They were both awarded the Order of Canada (C.M.) in 1994 for their commitment to international child health. She was also chair of the Board of the Elisabeth Bruyère Research Institute at the University of Ottawa from 2005 to 2008. In honour of her late husband, Dr Hillman established the Hillman Medical Education Fund which ran as a special division of Rose Charities Canada (and International) to support health education and to foster future leaders in medicine, particularly in East Africa. It did however extend considerably further contributing to Rose Charities initiatives both in Asia as well as Africa.
Liz’s passing on is a great loss to the world. Her life was however full, vibrant and focused, contributing hugely to diffusing education and health care to many who have benefited from it and have themselves then spread it on to others. In this way her influence, and charity have brought wonderful lives to many who otherwise would have remained within the poverty trap.
To Rose Charities, Liz was one of the finest sources of expertise and advice possible and the organization was truly lucky to count her has a mentor. While Africa was her main focus, her experience and advice extended also to S.E. Asia, particularly Indo China which has been one of the main foci of Rose Charities activities for its 22 year existence.
Dr Elizabeth Hillman. The whole of Rose Charities salutes you, lauds and acclaims you, and now, mourns you. We will not forget you and extend all condolences to your family.
Many girls across the world are unable to attend school when they have their periods as they have no access to affordable menstrual care. Days for Girls is a US non-profit that has developed reusable kits that solve this problem. Their aim is to develop sustainable solutions that remove limitations for women and girls. Thanks to a partnership between Rose Charities and Disaster Aid Canada( a distributor for Days for Girls) 50 menstruation kits were sent from Vancouver to two of Rose’s projects in Uganda – Stand Tall School and Smiles Scholarship program. The kits had quite the journey! Made by volunteers on Vancouver Island, they were brought to Vancouver on the ferry, then transported in a hockey bag to Kampala where they were delivered to the girls.Along with some education about menstrual hygiene these kits will enable the young women to attend school without interruption each month. This is such a basic need for young women – access to products that allow them to continue with their lives whatever time of the month.
Rose Charities NZ has worked with Ms Sarala Adhikari (Rose in Nepal) to cooperate with the Shikharapur Community School (Principal Mr Binod Mahat, Campus Chief , Mr Niroj Shrestha) in the beautiful and holy Pharping area in the Kathmandu Valley Nepal. http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Pharping
Rose Charities NZ provided the funds for an entire and much needed new rood for the school in return for 7 students to be sponsored to grade 10 and 2 to even higher level.
It is anticipated that this program will meet with every success for the girls and will lead on to further cooperative efforts to increase support (especially female) education both in Nepal and worldwide.
Shikharapur Community School has close links with Tribhuvan University Kathmandu.
2017 marked the 15th year of the Safe Motherhood Project in Guatemala. To recap, the Safe Motherhood Project is an educational project to train traditional Mayan Midwifes (Comadronas) in safe birthing techniques and emergency skills in caring for women who have their babies at home. Each course is 5 days long. We now have a competent team of 3 Guatemalan midwives who do the bulk of the teaching. We strive to conduct 3 to 4 courses per year each course attended by 30 Comadronas and/or Paramedics. The Canadian members of the project comprise 2 midwives, 1 family physician, and 1 maternity nurse. We Canadians visit at our own expense
once a year in February to make sure the project is on track or to provide practice updates. To date we have taught over 1000 Comadronas in various communities in many parts of the country.
Since our last report, the team has made 2 visits to Chisec, in the department of Alta Verapaz and has been able to teach 3 courses and a total of 100 comadronas in this municipality. Educational space and meals were generously provided by Karen and Rocky of Compelling Love Ministries, a couple from Kamloops who have acquired a small acreage in Chisec to provide community health education programs and to create a children’s nutritional center. As I write this report, our Guatemalan team will be teaching for 2 weeks, roughly 60 students, in Chichicastenango, a large market community in the highlands of the department of Quiche.
Efforts have been made to connect with local Guatemalan NGOs to collaborate materially and financially on this project. Unfortunately, while we receive lots of approval and verbal support, material support at a local level has not been forthcoming. I believe the reality for this project in Guatemala, as with much of the health and education infrastructure in the country, is a dependence on foreign donations for sustainability. A positive development in this country strapped for health dollars is that the Comadronas have been recognized since 2014 as an essential part of the health care system. The government has made efforts to credential Comadronas who receive formal training. We have received official recognition of our course from several levels of government.
This coming February 2018, the Canadian team members will return to Guatemala for 2 weeks of courses. The community is to be determined. However, the popularity of our course has increased by “word of mouth” and there are several communities requesting our presence. The need is still there for this educational program. We are proud that we have been able to continue this project for 15 years and look forward the project continuing for many more years to come.
“If you had all been with Pip D and me this afternoon in South Auckland you would be at home tonight with a rosy glow in your hearts — or wherever you keep your rosy glows !…..
Pip and I attended, first, a very low key informal but heartfelt “cuppa” time before a BIG concert where we, and other supporters of Sistema were thanked over and over. A Samoan family spoke, to add impact— and that they surely did that, about what it meant to them to be a Sistema family. The young daughter student, maybe 12 or 13, read a speech describing how her music had lifted her to explore heights she thought impossible. (She is now a scholarship student at St Cuthberts, but that’s another story.). Her mother, Lindah, spoke really eloquently about what it mean for her and her husband to have their eldest three children learning violin, clarinet and trombone, and their fourth child, a cute little boy who sat through the whole long afternoon without a murmur, is rearing to join up. She particularly emphasised what it meant to live in Otara, aware of so many negative attitudes towards her community and her people, to have something as positive as Sistema to turn attitudes on their head.
The Dad, who apologized for his incoherence having come straight from work, was really the most eloquent of all: He was speechless and tearful in his gratitude…….
THEN we went in to the huge arena-type stadium/hall and the music began! Nearly 400 children performed in different “orchestras” all through the afternoon. Other children sat on the floor listening with amazingly full-on attention. The music ranged from the beginners whose concentration, discipline and application was remarkable (aged 6 or 7) to the two orchestras numbering around 100 students who so vividly demonstrated the great skills they had acquired. Really it took heart-warming to a new level and Pip and I both loved every minute. We sat behind two principals of the local schools and they are clearly rapt with the project and the difference it makes to their students. Maths, English and “leadership” qualities have all taken many notches UP for the kids involved. It just makes you WISH every child had the same chances. One young boy announcer talked about the thrill of looking at music not understanding a thing about it, then being able to read it, then PLAY it! He made it sound like one of the thrills of his life. The Wind Band came near the end of the programme and they were super cool. Flutes, I think five, were in evidence, plus clarinets, five, trombones, trumpets. A real thrill and I know every Rose Trustee would have been absolutely delighted.
So I pass on the most sincere thanks from all the Sistema trustees, the teachers, the students…….Well done Roses for our role in it all
We can happily be sure it will be a great project for continued support. In fact we were told Creative NZ is cutting back on their funding so people like us are even more important in the future. … Trish Gribben (Rose Charities NZ Trustee)
Consultants, Linda Robers (Charit Rose 2014) and Professor Andrew Macnab (Chari. Rose 2012) gave the first Rose Charities Canada ‘TED-style’ presentations of the new mini-forum format to great acclaim.
Andrew spoke on the success of his amazing new rapid malaria diagnosis and on-site treatment program currently implemented with wonderful result in rural Ugandan schools. The program is currently being assessed by the Thai Government for implementation in rural regions of their country. Andrew had just returned from consultations at Mahidol and other Thai centers with view to such development
Linda, who is a council member of the Rose Charities International Council as well as one of Rose Charities Canada’s leading consultants, delivered an important presentation on child and human rights and ensuring their proper implementation across all Rose Charities direct and linked programs. The superb presentation lead then to considerable audience discussion .
The new ‘mini-forum’ format had been instituted and planned by the Rose Charities Administration Committee, and now having shown to be enormously successful will be repeated. On this occasion the forum was held in the fireside room of the United Church Centre for Peace hall on 16th and Burrard, Vancouver, an excellent venue.
Malaria is being tackled in rural Ugandan schools with Dr Anrew Macnab’s remarkable early rapid diagnosis and treatment program delivered by trained school ‘malaria hero’s’, school staff especially trained. Implemented by Rose Charities Canada’s Dr Andrew and HEDA Uganda, the program is giving hugely successful, recorded results, cutting the absenteeism through sickness much hated by student and teacher alike. Please click here to see the most recent paper on the marvellous results.
Rose Charities NZ has an exciting new project – to take Ear, Nose and Throat surgery to Samoa, to help an estimated 25,000 children who need treatment.
“Project Toolkit” is the dream of a Samoan ENT surgeon who lives in Whanganui, Dr P.J. Faumui. There is no permanent ENT surgeon in Samoa and every time “PJ” (as he is affectionately known) visits his family in Samoa he conducts an ENT clinic at Apia Hospital. PJ sees about 40 or 50 patients a day but, without good medical instruments, is able to give them only very simple low-risk treatment.
So Rose Charities NZ has commited to Project Toolkit, a $45,000 set of top quality ENT instruments and the custom-designed trays which will make it possible to transport them between New Zealand and Samoa for visiting volunteer surgeons to conduct ENT clinics there. The trays, with silicone inserts to keep the instruments safe and secure, are designed to allow for sterilisation and for customs inspections.
PJ himself will head the team of volunteers, some of whom work at Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital.
Sheffmed, an Auckland-based medical equipment company is collaborating with the project. It has offered discounted prices and a vital role in maintaining and keeping the Toolkit safe when it is back from the tropical conditions of Samoa. Sheffmed will also liaise with volunteer doctors who are heading to Samoa.
Why has Rose Charities NZ, which has an international reputation for it support of eye clinics in Cambodia and Nepal, decided to focus on ENT surgery?
“Children who have untreated ear, nose and throat problems in early childhood, like “glue ear”, can be scarred for life,” says Rose chairperson Trish Gribben. “If they can’t hear well, they don’t do well at school, they become disruptive, they have behaviour problems. It’s not far-fetched to say untreated ENT problems can be a building block for an anti-social life.
“The children in Samoa are our neighbours. They deserve something better. The Kiwi Rose Trustees are really excited about PJ’s Project Toolkit. It fits Rose philosophy perfectly: Help a local person to do a grassroots project when a little effort can have a BIG impact,” says Trish.
“When I signed up with Sheffmed I asked PJ if he was thrilled,” said Trish. “His reply: “Well, it is for the little ones.”
“Rose NZ is hooked. Now we have to find the money. It is a big project for us as we are all volunteers. But we are delighted to be working with some Rotary clubs throughout New Zealand. And, through them, with the Harold Thomas Trust which is the legacy of the first New Zealander to be president of Rotary International, set up to provide health care for children in the Pacific. Harold Thomas just happens to have been my uncle — it is all a perfect fit, says Trish.