25 October, 2010

Her Excellency, Ms Penny Richards, helps celebrate Mural Project

Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Her Excellency, Ms Penny Richards, was thrilled to be a part of the Epic Arts/Rose Rehab Mural Celebration on Friday 22nd October, 2010. We feel very honoured to have had her attend and participate in our celebration and recognition of the amazing abilities of all people. Joanna (Rose Rehab) and fellow Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD), Naomi Gow of Epic Arts, were successful in gaining a small assignment support grant from AYAD to run the Mural Project together. Rose Rehab needed the big white wall in the therapy area to be brought to life, and Epic Arts, being an organisation that aims to promote empowerment, integration and acceptance of people with disabilities through art, dance and music programs seemed the perfect partner. By networking with Epic Arts, we are forging a new relationship where health, arts and vocational training will be used to inspire and empower people with disabilities.
For the week of the 18th October until the 22nd, we were lucky enough to have Epic Arts students, all of whom are deaf, teach people with disabilties in the art of mural painting. 6 women with physical disabilties from the Prey Veng Supportive Homes and several patients from Rose Rehab participated in the project, as well as many hospital staff, children, and passers by. For the entire week, disability of the participants was not recognised. Everyone was given a go, everyone participated, and everyone was on an equal level. The participants themselves reported this as being one of the best things about the week, that everyone was respected. Another participant commented that for this week, she was doing her first ever job and she felt no discrimination.
The impact of conducting this project during this week was enormous. So many people joined; the tuk tuk driver, the cleaner, the interpreter, the children whose mother was in the maternity ward. It was such a positive vibe, with the awe of onlookers obvious as they marvelled at the ability of people in wheelchairs, or with no hands, to paint such a beautiful mural. Everyone was patient, and everyone helped out other people. Adaptions were made where necessary, and everyone felt included and valued.

We begin with a very big blank wall! Straight to the cutting in

Already looking good with the base coats The drawings begin, Roath and Sokna

The wall is really alive now!!!

And the absolutely marvellous finished product. Congratulations to everyone!!

A very proud bunch!

Friday afternoon buzzed with excitement as the celebrations began. We were fortunate enough to have Master Kong Nai, famous Cambodian blind musician, play for us through out the ceremony, as well as a vibrant performance from the very skilled 'Tiny Toones'. Tiny Toones Cambodia uses breakdancing, Hip-Hop music, and the contemporary arts as creative tools to empower the youth of Cambodia to live healthier lives free of HIV and drugs, build a more promising future by furthering their educational opportunities, and become positive role models for their community. They welcome all youth to participate in its programs, regardless of gender, social-economic status, physical handicaps, family background, or other personal disadvantages. Their performance was quite spectactular on Friday! All participants received certificates of achievement to both a loud round of applause and 'deaf clapping', which is shimmering of your hands up by your head!
Blind musician, Master Kong Nai, plays through out the ceremony

Dr Nous Sarom, Dr Prak Phorn (Chief of Operational District), Her Excellency Ms Penny Richards, Joanna, Naomi Gow (Epic Arts), Mr Ull Meng Hour (Prey Veng)

Chan Chea stands and walks to receive her certificate, with the very kind, and unprompted assistance from a young 'Tiny Toone'. Example of the respect and consideration for all that was evident throughout the week.

Srey Tum receives her certificate as the audience watch on and enjoy

Tiny Toones perform!!

Dr Nous Sarom (Rose Charities and Vice Director of Chey Chumneas Hospital and Dr Kong Chhunly (Director of Chey Chumneas) address the audience

Her Excellency, Ms Penny Richards, with local Rose Rehab staff members, and below with Prey Veny women and Mr Ull Meng Hour

A fabulous end to an amazing week. Congratulations to all who participated in the mural project, it was such a success!
Recognising Ability ~ Every Person Counts

19 October, 2010

Rose Rehab Supports Prey Veng Supportive Homes

Rose Rehabilitation is currently endeavouring to support the maintenance of two Supportive Homes, one for female people with disabilities and one for male people with disabilities, located in Prey Veng Town, Cambodia. These homes provide a safe, supportive environment that allows their members accessible proximity to mainstream education such as High Schools, Universities and Vocational Training Centres in Prey Veng Town. The opportunity to attend school was previously difficult for these people due to them living in very isolated, rural villages without the means or accessible routes to such Education Centres.

These homes will also provide their members with the relevant skills needed to enable them to live independent lives and will encourage them to follow the natural progression for young adults and to break away from dependence on their families. They can now explore their capabilities and see what they can achieve through gaining a well-rounded education and equal access to employment opportunities. This program allows members to become role models - pioneers in fact - for other people with disabilities - showing them that they too can follow their dreams and can have the ability to lead independent and fulfilling lives, and in time will be able to generate their own incomes.

These boys and girls need your help - we currently have 17 out of 29 members that still require sponsorship. Sponsorship includes both living costs and educational requirements and equals approximately US$675/year for a girl (US$57/month) and US$815for a boy (US$68/month).

There are 18 girls and 11 boys respectively in the Supportive Homes which accounts for the differences in costs for living expenses.

Project Founder, Mr Ull Meng Hour outside the second building for the Girl's Supportive Home

The entrance to the new Boy's Supportive Home (they rent downstairs only)

26 September, 2010

Careers Day at ANDC

What a fabulous day! Friday 24th September was Careers Day for 'A New Day Cambodia', an alternative care centre for children who were scavengers in the Stung Meanchey rubbish dump. The centre provides a safe, healthy environment for the children to live, and learn.
Our staff from Rose Rehabilitation Cambodia excited to be invited along to speak to the children for Careers Day. The children listened with all ears as Rith he spoke about his role as an administration and finance manager at Rose Rehabilitation, provoking questions from many of the kids. He outlined the path he took to get to where he is today, and the hardwork and study he has done, and continues to do. Quite a few hands were raised and smiles shone when he asked who was good at mathematics!

Sokny and Hoe then talked to the kids about physiotherapy, stimulating the minds of everyone. There were a small number of children who had heard of physiotherapy before, but mostly, no one knew what it was. Some brilliant questions were asked, including what should be done if someone sees a moto accident and someone has broken their leg? The kids were really interested in First Aid and would really like to know what to do in these type of accident situation, which happen so often.

The kids did an amazing job at listening, and giving their undivided attention to the speakers. They earned themselves a well-deserved break where they could bust out into the yard and play football - which, might I add, they are very talented at!

Sokny, Hoe and Rith really enjoyed the experience of talking to the children about their respective careers and were really happy to be able to participate in broadening the kids' knowledge on what they can do when they finish school. They actually commented that they would have really liked something like this when they were at school, and that often people did certain courses simply because the opportunity happened to be there, not because they actually wanted to do it. This itself impacts society in Cambodia hugely, as there are commonly people doing jobs they have no desire or passion for, and as a result the job is not done well. By educating the children about options, and encouraging them to think about what they like doing and want to do, they have a much greater chance at living a fulfilling, productive life. They can reach for the stars!

* Sokny, Hoe and Rith, very happy after their presentations
* The team from Rose Rehabilitation picture with ANDC staff, Annette and Lisa.
Friday was also the last day for Jillian Thomsen (far right), a volunteer we have had with us at Rose Rehabiliation for 9 weeks. We thank her very much for all her efforts and time she dedicated to Rose Rehabilitation. We enjoyed having her in the office and on the road with us, and will miss having her around. We hope she goes home with some wonderful memories of her time in Cambodia with us. Thank you Jill, safe travels home.

20 September, 2010

Srey Tung - she wants to read and write

And why shouldn't she? She's 29 years old, and has had a disability almost her entire life. She was never given the opportunity to go to school, or to learn, or to work, or to do anything fulfilling in her life. Might I add - disability can actually be seen as the result of attitudes and practices that prevent people from enjoying economic participation, social inclusion and equality, rather than the result of an individual’s impairment. Srey Tung's situation depicts this very much - her role in life so far - simply to exist. Lying on the bed in the corner. You know what? She wants this to change. Her family also want this now. Below you can see Srey Tung lying where she has spent so many years lying.

The two pictures below were taken last week, at our first village visit to Srey Tung. Wow, did she pull a crowd! These pics show just a few of the many onlookers. Not a lot of privacy in the villages, everyone wanted to see what was happening. And they were intrigued. Srey Tung was out from the bed in the corner, and doing things they'd never seen her do before. From this session, Srey Tung decided she wanted to be able to sit independently. Such a functional position for socialising, eating, drinking, and generally seeing the world as it happens. Not to mention the other health benefits that come from positional changes and sitting up. All of her bodily systems will improve.

Coming back today, she draws even more of a crowd. Srey Tung is not nervous today, either. She is happy, talkative, and expressive. Something we were yet to see.

Srey Tung's strength and endurance today was impressive. Previously, she could not hold any position of anti-gravity on her own for more than a second. Today, she was able to almost independently arrange herself and push up onto her forearms when lying on her tummy. And she could stay there for a minute. A huge improvement. And she was far less uncomfortable. Whilst still working very hard, she was happy and smiling through out. And extremely grateful when given the opportunity to rest!

In particular, a woman, who turns out to be Srey Tung's neighbour, was there today and was so involved with the treatment session. She was encouraging, and assisted where she could. She listened, and wanted to learn ideas. She had discussions with Srey Tung's father, passing on ideas. This lovely lady was astounded, completely surprised at what she was seeing Srey Tung do. She had no idea she would be able to do any of the things she was doing today. She really wants to see Srey Tung progress even further.
With all the chatting going on today, the topic of reading and writing was raised. Srey Tung revealed she cannot read, and she cannot write. But she would like to. Do something everyday. Learn. Be counted.
That's the next aim - to find a way to get some education for Srey Tung. She is able to hold a pen, and even though not formally tested, I'm sure she has the cognitive ability to learn to read.

This story really highlights the lack of awareness amongst Cambodian communities regarding disability. Very, very slowly attitudes are changing, and this is helped by the implementation of the National Law on Disability in 2009. There is a long way to go, but slowly as the country recognises the rights of people with disabilities, and health awareness progresses, opportunities will hopefully arise for all people to lead productive and fulfilling lives.