Written and narrated by Trish Gribben (ex Chair Rose Charities N.Z. Produced by Hannah Walker)
‘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.
As with so man organisations, individuals and groups, members of the Rose Charities network have striven to help where they can. Initiatives include both those in very developing countries which, on top of existing poverty are being very hard hit as well as within problem areas in ‘the west’
Zambia (Malambo-Rose Charities Canada). Food distribution as well as a soap distribution, education and local soap making program. Recently also a protective mask making program has been inaugurated. For Malambo programs see .. Uganda Stand Tall education (Rose Charities Canada) has assisted with food distribution . This has also been implemented in the rural Voset School (Rose Charities Canada supported) . A generator has been supplied and installed in its own hut and this will assist hugely with the increased level of power cuts. Ethopia (PIHA-Rose Charities Canada ) Fund have been sent for food and material assistance.
United Kingdom. Rose Charities UK has carried out the following assistances a) medial mask manufacture by 3D printing. A private initiative was supported to establish and expand a manufacturing facility for medical protective masks to supply at material cost price. The support assisted the organization (along with others) to set up full production and now around a thousand masks a week are being produced and distributed. The program has proven so successful that further support has now been attracted by a large company which will boost production still further b) Reading program support to a school in South London with a high proportion of children from poor families. The corvid-19 crisis has left many unable to socialize normally and this is particularly harmful in in adolescent children in difficult areas where there is a danger of turning to crime, drug trafficking etc. The school initiative is combating this with a Kindle reading program. Kindles are purchased and lent to the children along with eBooks of their choice and all encouragement to read. The very fact that the reading is from a Kindle gives a lot of encouragement in the current age (surprising as this may seem to older generations)
Other programs will be reported on as they occur. Assistances in Haiti, Guatemala and NZ are under consideration
Seen in the images above are Mrs Maggie Francis and Mrs Linda Roberts (joint chairs). Professor Andrew Macnab (Uganda and other, general health education and implementation) , Dr Joanne Young and Mr Craig Keeting (Hillman Fund leaders) , Ms Candace Cho (Ecuador program), Ms Jenny Moss (Costa Rica programs), Mr Jean and Terri Lubin (Haiti Community program), Ms Karen Schafer (Haiti Neonatal Resuscitation training), Ms Kate Wooton (Uganda Community Program), Dr Ellen Coburn (Mayan School, Guatemala). Also Rose Charities Main Board Members (Emily McCance -Josephine Defreitas, Galib Kara, Tim Maguire, Frank Tharakan, Mike Ramanadan,, Dr Will Grut, and Kevin Simpson (Hon Member)
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.
Maggie Francis (Chair Rose Charities Canada)
““If we change our thoughts from ‘it’s too late’ to, ‘there’s still hope’, we might see some change in the world.” ― Kellie Elmore
Rose Haiti Healthcare Education conducted a training on #neonatal resuscitation with 31 members of our staff. They did an initial training with 3 senior nurses and 3 pediatricians, who then assisted with training through the week. These 6 HAS employees will train the remainder of the staffLast week, a team of 3 Canadian health professionals from
and run practice scenarios every 1-2 months to maintain their competency. We are grateful for the knowledge and skills Rose Haiti Healthcare Education shared with our team! Our nurses and physicians are better equipped to save the lives of our tiniest patients.
The amazing One Tree Hill Sinfonia is holding a charity concert for Malambo Grassroots Zambia Saturday 15th September.
The Malambo Programs are supported through Rose Charities Canada and carry out amazing and hugely needed work in child education, including music education, income generation, womens groups, and health. One of their main organizers is Heidi Krutzen, Canada’s leading harpist currently living and working with the London Philharmonia.
For over 20 years Rose Charities has been developing essential ground level programs to many parts of the world, with no administration fees.
6pm Sat 15th September. Admission 10pounds, St Augustines Church, Honour Oak Park SE23
Rose Charities UK is assisting in provided much needed aid relief to the devastating series of earthquakes which have occurred in Lombok, Indonesia. Working with our Board Member Khalid Virani who was in the region at the time of the quakes, knows the area well and has a reliable network of contacts on the ground we are providing relief supplies such as non perishable food including rice and cooking oil, drinking water, ponchos, tarpaulin and basic medical materials to help alleviate the ongoing
Well over 250 people are confirmed dead, thousands missing or injured and tens of thousands displaced from their homes. Any donations hugely appreciated. Rose Charities UK takes no administration costs and works locally where needs can be met at ground level
Donate through our JustGiving site – please state ‘Lombok’ in the ‘comments/notes’ field
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.