Background and history

Cambodia was one of the founding areas of the Rose Charities network. Dr William Grut of Canada travelled to the then war ravaged Kampuchea in 1994, to help with the AMDA (Association of Medical Doctors of Asia) health project, re-establishing medical facilities in Phnom Srouch District of Kompong Speu Province as part of coordinated UN efforts.  Having built a small hospital in the district, Dr Grut went on to found, together with two friends (Michele Claudel (CH) and John Stewart (UK), the  International Resources for the Improvement of Sight (IRIS) eye camp and clinic building program.  Assisted by superb,  field experienced Nepalese Eye surgeons and nurses the IRIS program became renowned  for taking operative eye camps into isolated , hard to access (and poorly secure) areas all over Cambodia 


Rose Charities separated from IRIS in order to pursue a more generalized rehabilitative surgery program (to include cleft lip and palate and land-mine injuries) and multiple programs developed from there. Focus once more shifted predominantly to eyes following a major theft, vandalism and looting of all facilities and equipment in 2003, allegedly by an expatriate organized. It is likely at that point that all programs would have terminated had it not been for the compassion and determination of the Cambodia staff, notably Dr Heng Vra, to continue helping the poor of their country.

What followed then over the years was one of the greatest success stories possible in development work. From a situation of all equipment lost to the thieves the program, was, largely with help from Rose Charities New Zealand reestablished and went on to become one of Cambodia’s leading eye facilities catering both to the poor and those who could afford to pay. Today it operates as in independent hospital presided over by Dr’s Vra and Natalia Heng , two of the greatest names in Cambodian Eye Care .

The spectrum of past Rose Charities programs in Cambodia are summarized in the website

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