Vancouver is known for its cherry blossoms and late-April is when they get going; profoundly fitting for this lovely event. Come and see them and come to our beautiful concert. Rutsuku Yamagishi is one of the worlds great pianists. One of Rutsukos beliefs is that performances should be live only – thus she rarely (if ever) will perform for recordings in studios..
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…
12 determined teams battled it out last night for Quiz Contest supremacy but the real winner was Rose Charities. We raised $1500 while in the process making a lot of new friends for Rose. The 58 enthusiastic participants loved the event, the camaraderie and the continental ambiance of Cafe Simply French in Vancouver. We are already getting calls for a rematch…… so stay tuned and come and join us for the next event!
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.
It first began a long time ago, in May 2010, when plans for the construction of a safe therapeutic area for children and other patients with physical rehabilitative needs became a reality. Things shot off to a quick start with the construction of the roof and cement floor ocurring within a month or so. In October, there was the Mural Project. Three vibrant young students with hearing impairments ventured to Takhmao from Epic Arts Kampot and worked with young people with disabilities here at the Centre to paint the amazing, bright wall mural that continues to capture the attention of all who enter the therapy area. Since then it has been slow and steady progress with more equipment gradually added to the floor area, and the wet season coming in and highlighting the need for small alterations to manage the water creeping in. This year was a particularly wet wet season, and we are really happy with how well the therapy area, given it’s open plan design, held up.
Finally, the area became ready for the safe rubber flooring to be laid. Fortunately, we were successful in receiving funds from the Direct Aid Program (DAP) at the Australian Embassy, to implement a project finishing off our building establishment and purchasing resources for the education and training of hospital staff and the community in physiotherapy and disability awareness.
Funds were received on the 21st October 2011 and laying of the floor began on the 26th. After a bumpy start, change in glues, cars breaking down, challenging lumps in the cement floor, workers being away, long lunches, late starts and varying shades of floor squares, we now have a wonderful, large, safe area for providing therapy for children and adults.
Money from a fundraising dinner held in Kadina, South Australia, Joanna’s (RCRC physiotherapist) hometown in early 2011, has been used to supplement the DAP funds to finish the floor area – we under-estimated the amount of rubber tiling required. These funds will also be used to tile the entrance, a cost not included in the grant proposal.
The flooring area has already proven a hit with the kids! In true Cambodian collective group therapy style, children flock into the Centre when we open the gate (funded by Kadina dinner), just to run around and play on this new, strange, soft but firm, rubber flooring, spontaneously rolling around on the floor. Fantastic for disability awareness, children and adults have been joining in on therapy sessions and getting some insight into life for those with disabilities and how they can play and join in activities too.
The flooring has created a safe environment for rehabilitation and therapy and has stimulated a great interest from the community and hospital in physiotherapy, disability and rehabilitation.
We have been invited by hospital Director, Dr Kong Chhunly, to present to hospital staff again on physiotherapy and its benefits and encourage referrals and integration of physiotherapy into the hospital system.
The development and progression of the physiotherapy area will continue – we are looking to build a storage room (we have no space for equipment such as standing frames, wheelchairs and other mobility/therapy aids), a waiting area, and will fix up the rough entrance. Many thanks to all donors, especially DAP (Australian Embassy) and the people of Kadina for these latest developments.
Rose Vietnam is delighted to welcome two new members to the Board.
Libby Madden has been a long time supporter of Rose projects in Vietnam. She went to Vietnam for the first time in 2003, “fell in love with the country and the people”, and has been back seven times since, visiting Rose VN projects in Ho Chi Minh City on a number of those occasions. In 2010 Rose Vietnam shifted its focus to Hue, where we now have a number of projects including building houses for the poor, education support, a school for blind adults and income generation. Libby plans to visit Hue in 2012, (and is currently learning Vietnamese!) While there she will evaluate a new community development project in Thanh Thien village.
Patrick Wolfe hails from Vancouver and has been living in Ho Chi Minh since 2007. For three years he worked at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CanCham) and was the most successful executive director ever. During his tenure he double the corporate sponsorship and increased membership by over 50%. Patrick is currently corporate marketing director for Blackberry in Vietnam. He is well known and admired in both the local Vietnamese and ex-pat communities, and will represent us well in both our fund-raising and awareness raising activities.
Libby and Patrick join Mr. Phuoc Nguyen and Ms. Han Thuc Thanh, both residents in HCMC, Louis Lap Nguyen who lives in Bellingham and Jan Johnston, who has yet to settle anywhere!
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.