Greetings for these last few days of 2012, and ‘Salut ‘ to a shiny new ‘Gregorian’ New Year !
2012 has been another marvellous year for Rose Charities and its programs around the world. All Rose groups have seen either consolidation or expansion with increased services being available for the poor.
There is a traditional English song that is sung around their festival of Christmas known as the ‘Twelve Days’ . On each of the twelve days certain gifts are given. Each verse recounts a further day and a further set of gifts (often described with a gerund ie ‘a leaping’ or ‘a swimming’, )
2012 for Rose Charities has seen its own cornucopia of gifts so, in festive mood we would like to present our own Rose ’12 days of Christmas’ .
There is no order of importance in our selection; all are noteworthy. Almost all of them demonstrate, apart from their own achievements, two of the main foundations of Rose Charities.. The first, defining the very essence of Rose Charities is cooperation. Cooperation and its siblings ‘coordination’ and ‘friendship’ deliver synergistic energy far greater than the sum of individual efforts. From its very inception, Rose Charities organizers have been aware of this and have always welcomed new friendships. The results speak for themselves: over 100,000 with eye problems have been assisted, education programs ranging from primary to tertiary in 5 countries, microcredit, social enterprise and income generation programs in 7 countries.
The second founding principle that Rose Charities pertains to is that ‘ quality’ is more important than ‘quantity’. Strive for, and achieve the former and the latter will follow. Far better to really help a few to gain better lives than to try to eke out resources to show numbers of those being helped. We see this time and again in Rose, in Dr Hang and Natalia Vra’s Rose Cambodia Sight Centre, in The Rose Cambodia Rehabilition Centre, Professor Sarom’s Rehabilitative Surgery (RCRC) in Cambodia, in Stand Tall Education and Brighter Smiles Uganda, in Malambo Zambia, in Vietnam, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and in all of the successful projects and groups in the Rose network .
Here then, presented in festive spirit, and with enormous gratitude to the ‘givers’ are the Rose 12 days of Christmas….
THE 12 ROSE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
1. ‘A Partridge in-a Pear Tree ’: Rose Charities Malaysia’s wonderful hosting of the 4th Rose Charities International Meeting in Penang. Creative, productive, hugely enjoyable, and a milestone in the progress of the Rose Charities network. Planned, organized and orchestrated by Rose International Chair Mr Lawrence Cheah (Current Chair and first Hon. Fellow of Rose Charities International) Vince Yeoh and the other amazing members of Rose Charities Malaysia www.myrosecharity.org . Also, Rose Charities Malaysia’s exceptional projects in health delivery for the disadvantaged aboriginal people of Malaysia as well as helping the aged, and a surgical eye project (in cooperation with St Nicholas Home Penang) www.sny.org.my and city-based health promotion.
2. ‘Two Turtle Doves ’ : Rose Charities Cambodia ( Sight Centre) and Rose Charities New Zealand. These two exemplary organizations work very closely together. This results in a truly amazing project which continues deliver eye care and eye surgery for well over 100,000 people since its inception. Rose NZ, mostly through the tireless energy of Mike Webber (Rose Laureate 2009) has delivered equipment (including vehicles), funds, (for training new eye surgeons), guidance, expertise and advice. Drs Hang Vra (Rose Laureate 2007) and Natalia Vra and their team have , built, promoted and implemented programs both at the Kien Khleang Centre and now, through outreach, into the larger community . www.rose-charities.org and www.rose-eye.info
3. ‘Three French Hens ’ : The Rose Canada Safe Motherhood initiative (Hillman Fund, Safe Motherhood Guatemala, Frontier Primary Health Pakistan, Tabish Social Health Afghanistan www.tsheo.com.af ) 2012 saw the inauguration of a safe birthing committee, chaired by midwifery consultant Janice Wensley , to help coordinate plans and funding for the Afghanistan, Guatemala, and Pakistan safe birthing projects. Leading this group are Annette Borkent and Dr. Ruth Brighouse ‘of Safe Motherhood Guatemala ’ www.safemotherhoodproject.org . In Afghanistan, coordination is with Dr Wais Aria of the Tabish Social Health Organization. Afghanistan sadly sees one of the highest maternal childbirth mortalities in the world, a mother dying every two minutes in or around childbirth.
4. ‘Four Calling Birds’: Rose Charities Vietnam www.rosevietnam.org and its programs continued their expansion in scope, organization and effectiveness in 2012 orchestrated both locally by Mr Nguyen , (Rose Laureate 2010) and his Vietnam team, notably Ms Thuc, Louis Nguyen and Jan and Bill Johnston in Canada and USA. Support for the blind (home building and training) in Hue and community income generation in Thanh Thien by reestablishment of their paper flower cottage-industry were main targets in central Vietnam while, in Ho Ch Minh City support for the Be Tho orphanage, assisted by grants through Rose Charities UK www.rosecharities.org.uk from the Oliver Bonas group enabled vaccination and health programs as well as food purchase for the children. Rose Charities Vietnam never ceases to amaze with its energy and creativity in program development.
5. ‘Five Gold Rings ’ 2012 saw the Uganda programs consolidate and expand in addition to new linkages and connections coming into being. The ’12 Days of Christmas’ song mentions ‘five gold rings’ and the Rose network has these ! Foremost as always were the amazing Stand Tall Education www.standtalleducation.org and Brighter Smiles www.brightersmilesafrica.ca programs with their schools, assistance to orphans, social income and health projects. The enormous amount of assistance those projects give to children in need cannot be over-stated. The work of the Volset Orphanage continued and the Hillman Fund www.hmef.info supported a number of students in health training and coordinated also with the Laura Case Trust UK www.thelauracasetrust.org . The strong links with the Heada organization were consolidated, in coordination with Stand Tall, for the training of health workers specialising in sexually transmitted diseases. It is impossible in these few short lines to properly describe the impact of all the many project components in Uganda but they are considerable, and so much of this has been constructed and orchestrated by the tireless work of Nicole Schouela and Dr Andrew Macnab (Rose Laureate 2012) and their teams both in Uganda and Canada. However on 7tth 9th March 2013 the Uganda groups will host the 5th Rose Charities International Conference ‘ Excellence in Education’ in Kampala www.rosecharities.org where proper focus on the groundbreaking work of the Uganda organizations in the Rose network will be given appropriate attention.
6. ‘Six Geese-a-laying’: The Rose Cambodia Rehab Centre (RCRC) www.roserehab.org coordinating with Rose Charities Australia www.rosecharities.org.au has developed into a well managed and hugely valuable project for the disabled of Cambodia. RCRC was founded by Joanna Thomson (Rose Laureate 2011 and Rose Charities Australia trustee) who created, with her team, one of the most effective rehabilitation facilities in Cambodia today. Physiotherapy and other rehabilitation therapies are much needed in Cambodia and RCRC integrates the services available (including rehabilitation surgery from Dr Nous Sarom’s (Rose Laureate 2008) ‘Operation First’ program. RCRC also coordinates with the Cambodia Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) which is assisted by Rose Canada’s Hillman Fund www.hmef.info in their advanced physiotherapy training program.
7. ‘Seven Swans-a-swimming’: Malambo Grassroots Zambia www.malambograssroots.ca run a spectrum of wonderful, rurally-based projects ranging from school education, to a health clinic, and women’s income groups in the Monze area of Zambia. An exciting development of the last few months has been the planning of a joint project in commercial beekeeping with the ‘Bee World’ organization of Surrey B.C. Canada’ www.honeybeecentre.com . This will provide income and ensure better environmental management within the area. One of Malambo’s main organizers in Canada is international harpist Heidi Krutzen. Heidi has been helping Zambias main music school and last year sent a container of donated musical instruments from Canada to the school. Jocelyn Banyard, Malambo’s other main Canadian organizer, travels regularly to work on the project (which was founded by her aunt) as well as organizing fund-raisers and the sourcing of equipment in Canada. This long running project has helped hundreds of impoverished adults and children over the many years it has been operating.
‘8. Eight Maids-a-milking’: Rose Charities Singapore www.rosesingapore.info joined the Rose Charities network in early 2012 and is its newest member. It is also one of its most active, carrying out numerous local initiatives ranging from orphanage support to assisting old folks homes. Almost every weekend a social project is undertaken in Singapore organized by founder Christina Leong and her team. In addition to the local projects, Rose Charities Singapore has been enormously helpful in international initiatives, specifically in collecting funds and materials for emergency relief – such as in the Thai flood disaster, and also in supplying used laptops to the Rose Charities Uganda project(s) .
9. ‘Nine Ladies dancing’ : Madagascar and Guatemala are a long way apart geographically, but they are linked by two marvellous school support projects. Guatemala’s ‘The Mayan Project’ www.themayanproject.org founded by Dr Ellen Coburn, has run a school for many years for children in one of the most deprived rural areas of Guatemala. Rose Charities Madagascar provides a similar amazing service with the ‘Mahatsara School project’ for children in a very poor area of Madagascar. In addition the Mahatsara project extends into other areas such as agriculture, health education , a nutrition program, a sports and parents association.
10. ‘Ten Lords-a-leaping’ : Rose Charities Sri Lanka remains one of the most active in the Rose Charities network . Led by Director Anthony Richard, and now assisted by Mr Rajeeshan, the project has seen a spectrum of initiatives ranging from health, to education (all ages), community development, sports for peace and a microcredit programme. This last area has been developed only through the dedicated assistance of Mr Lawrence Keenan, founder of the CSLI institute in Vancouver, whose unwavering support has been unparalleled. Rose Charities Sri Lanka remains a huge source of pride for the Rose network – its deliverance of initiatives to thousands in need, and its fortitude in problem-solving are exemplary.
11. Eleven Pipesr -piping : Rose Charities Canada’s Haiti program has again underlined our belief that true emergency relief efforts should be long term, and not short ‘high media profile’ programs.
After initial medical/surgical relief, work has concentrated on much needed pediatric nursing training. Missions focus on training teachers. Orchestrated by a Rose team of Vancouver nurses and nurse educators – principally Prof Karen Schafer, Linda Warner, Terri Lubin, and other volunteer nurse trainers from B.C. Children’s Hospital and other Vancouver hospitals, the program has steadily continued its specialized training program.
12. Drummers drumming: And the 12th day goes to one of the most important groups in Rose Charities network – its ‘silent heros’. These people manage the infrastructure and raise funds throughout the network . These ‘drummers’ drum steadily away in the background, largely unnoticed, but critical to keeping the Rose network alive. Foremost of these are the Chartered Accountants, Eric Vanderluit www.vanderluit.com of Rose Canada, Jane Midgley www.midgleys.co.nz of Rose NZ and Barbara Reade of Rose Charities UK www.rosecharities.org.uk . Penny Kendal (lawyer) of Rose Australia www.rosecharities.org.au carries out similar work for Rose Australia. All four donate services which would otherwise represent thousands of dollars in fees but without which proper compliance could not be made. Also in this group are those who time and again help with organizing fundraisers. The list is too large, but most of us know who they are in their own national groups and their work is hugely appreciated work. Rose Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, USA, Australia, Canada and UK all continue to hold fund-raising events. These events have included photographic shows, quiz-nights, dance, art and music events, dinners, street-hockey, sale-stalls, sponsored walks, cycles and runs, dinners, and others, all put together with hours of effort, dedication and determination. Other supporters too – from Spain, Portugal, and France, have contributed in different and varied ways. And there are others: financial control organizers, web-site designers (Canada’s Angela Forsyth manages a family with two children under 2 and puts together e-newsletters as well as maintaining and servicing many of the Rose websites), Helpers with administration work include Judith Peralta who also does her own fund-raising events. Malaysia sees Vince Yeoh and Lawrence Cheah (Rose International Chair), Singapore: Christina Leong, Dickson Ho, Jessica Toh and many others. In France,:Sumiko Berat: Portugal: Hans and Carri Jorgensen: Spain: David Waterman: USA: Rachel Greene and Jason Rosenstock: Madagascar: Dr Emma Noble, and Luke King and Ashlee King: Vietnam: Jan and Bill Johnston and Louis Nguyn: Zambia, Uganda, Guatemala, and those in our close partners, AMDA Canada. The list simply goes on and on… and on. ! Thank you; its you heroes that make Rose work !
A month ago we received an unexpected email from the wonderful Canadian singer and songwriter Jessica Blake www.jessicablakemusic.com . Jessica had written an amazing song ‘the More I see’ following her visit to S.E. Asisa. She wrote to say that she was dedicating the use of the song to the work of Rose Charities. It is a beautiful song with thoughtful, profound lyrics and we were very touched at her spontaneous gesture. Jessicas gift is both a wonderful end to a great 2012 but also a fantastic beginning to 2013, now (at time of writing) only 24 hours away.
On the 7th-9th March, Rose Charities will be holding its fifth international conference in Kampala. This year the theme will be ‘Excellence in Education’ and this theme is one which will also be the focus for the year of 2013. Lack of education is the cause of so many of the terrible problems and suffering in the world today. Rose Charities schools , education sponsorships, and training programs span all levels from eye surgery to early childhood (ECCE) and continue to expand. The importance of such programs cannot be overestimated.
We wish you all a 2013 of happiness, peace and creativity.
Sarah Miller & William Grut (Secretaries General, Rose Charities International ) . 31stDecember 2012