Today the RCRC team met with Kim and Marady, representatives from Cambodia Cares, to develop a new partnership. Cambodia Cares is an organization offering flexible volunteer roles to Cambodians, to help promote a giving culture amongst local people and encourage them to contribute to their own society. Cambodia Cares offers volunteer positions that can accommodate for work/study/family commitments, to make it as easy as possible for people to become involved. RCRC met with Cambodia Cares to discuss the possibility of hosting Cambodian volunteers, which we are of course very excited about! We are even considering signing up our staff to be volunteers for other projects! This is a wonderful new relationship that we hope will be a prosperous connection for both RCRC and Cambodia Cares.
Ms. Lee Parker, an Australian volunteer as Organisational Development Officer through Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID). She had been worked with us at Rose Cambodia Rehabilitation Centre (RCRC) for 18 months since October 2011-April 2013.
During her volunteering period, she had walked along RCRC to overcome many challenges and tried her best to develop RCRC to be a formal local NGO by assisting RCRC previous director, Mr. Pech Darong and building capacity of RCRC staff members such as Administration/Outreach Coordinator, Ms. Sophak and other staff members as much as she can. She always give us full and heart-to-heart support.
RCRC’s team are appreciated very much and would like to show our gratitude for what she had done and provided great support.
That’s so sad for us when she finished her volunteering. However, we hope she have nice trip back to her country and happiness with her family that she left for 18 months.
We wish her to be healthy and hope to see her again in the future.
In February, RCRC was delighted to welcome our second volunteer from the UK-based NGO Accountants for International Development (AfID). Donna was able to meet up with our first volunteer Matt, in London prior to her flight to Cambodia. The meeting provided Donna with a great early briefing about what to expect in Phnom Penh when she arrived, and gave her an overview of the work ahead.
RCRC, although a small organisation, has the same requirements for careful management of our donors funds and formal grants, as any larger NGO. Donna has helped our Finance Officer, Rith and our Acting Director, Sophak to develop a stronger system of reports, work that was begun by Matt in 2012. Donna was also invaluable in helping us to prepare budgets for planned new projects.
We thank Donna for her six weeks here and hope she enjoys her well-earned holiday in other parts of Cambodia as well as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand!
Sokny at the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy congress 2013 in India.
Senior RCRC Physiotherapist, Sokny took to the skies in early March – on his first ever flight – to New Delhi, India.
As the winner of the Evelyn Mackin Award for a therapist from a developing country, RCRC was thrilled that Sokny had this opportunity to take part in this fantastic learning opportunity.
There was a great deal to choose from – as the conference was attended by many health disciplines including specialist hand surgeons. Also present were Occupational Therapists, Prosthetists and Orthotists (POs), Physiotherapists, and researchers.
Sokny focussed on topics that might be of greatest use in Cambodia, and here at RCRC. These were wrist instability: splinting or exercise; stabilisation exercise for wrist instability; rehabilitation for patients with burns; thumb instability: surgery, splints or exercise, and consideration of the kinds of splinting material and types of splints. Hand therapy is such a specialist area, and in Cambodia, as elsewhere, so much is at stake if hand use is compromised through injury.
It wasn’t quite all work though, Sokny also grabbed the chance to visit the Taj Mahal!
‘Amazing and fantastic’ is how he summed it up. Sokny is looking forward to the opportunity to pass on his new found knowledge, to his RCRC colleagues and to members of the Cambodian Physical Therapy Association (CPTA).
RCRC is enormously grateful to the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy, for providing Sokny with an all-expenses paid opportunity to learn so much from others in the field of hand therapy.
On Sunday 3 March , we bade farewell to our Senior Physiotherapist Sokny as he boarded a flight to India, brand new passport in hand. Sokny is travelling New Delhi to attend the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy (IFSHT) Triennial Congress – 4 – 8 March 2013. This is an especially exciting trip for him because it’s his first time travelling outside Cambodia, as well as his first time attending an international standard conference.
Sokny is the winner of the 2013 Evelyn Mackin Award, from IFSHT, which has been awarded to him for displaying a keen interest in Hand Therapy and demonstrating leadership in developing Hand Therapy as a specialty practice in Cambodia. Attending this Congress will make Sokny the most qualified Cambodian Hand Therapist in Phnom Penh and enable him to network with Physiotherapists and other health professionals from all over the world.
We are very proud of Sokny for both receiving this award and his aplomb in managing his pre-departure preparation! We are very excited about welcoming him home and look forward to hearing about all that he has learned!
On 28 February and 1 March, Sophak and Lee attended the final meeting of the Cambodian Initiative for Disability Inclusion (CIDI) Network. By funding 55 projects, which have been run by 38 Cambodian local organisations, the Australian Red Cross’s CIDI network has been a great success, not only funding disability projects directly, but holding regular workshops to build the capacity of the Khmer staff of the member organisations.
RCRC has really benefitted from being part of this wonderful network, since we joined 18 months ago. We actively participated in the following workshops to develop understanding and skills in the following ways:
- First Aid training
- Self-help groups – we learned from each other’s organisations about the sustainable change that many SHGs achieve in small villages and in towns,
- Advocacy – how to build better community understanding of disability; at present there is still a lot of discrimination against people with disabilities,
- Quickbooks (accounting software program) training for some key beneficiaries of RCRC’s Access For All project,
- Child Protection Policy development and implementation,
- Monitoring and evaluation – with field experience. RCRC worked with Muslim Aid Cambodia for a Peer to Peer Evaluation, with a visit by RCRC to Muslim Aid in Kampong Chhnang, and a return visit by Muslim Aid to RCRC’s Access For All project in Prey Veng.
- And, we received financial support to send Sophak to the 2nd Asian Pacific CBR (Community-Based Rehabilitation) congress in Manilla, Philippines.
All the members of the CIDI network have really valued these meetings and workshops. They’ve helped build close relationships through sharing information, knowledge and experiences of working in the disability sector, and, crucially the network has made a big contribution to developing the capacity of Khmer staff in the above ways. We are all hoping very much that there is a way for the Australian Red Cross to be able to continue to run the network.
RCRC was honored on Wednesday 5 December when our founder – Joanna Thomson – was awarded a medal at the National Conference on Disability Inclusive Development, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia!
She is pictured here with His Excellency Ith Sam Heng, the Minister for Social Affairs, Veterans Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation, who presented her with a medal for her services in collaborating with government to help alleviate poverty through providing rehabilitation services for people with a disability.
What a well-deserved honour! Jo has spent several years working to establish rehabilitation services for poor and marginalised Cambodians, establishing RCRC at the government’s Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital in Kandal Province. Although Jo is now back in Australia, she remains as committed to RCRC as ever and we were excited that she was able to make a short visit for this occasion.
Our accountant volunteer from the British NGO Accountants for International Development (AfID) Matt, was with us for almost two months and made a fantastic contribution to RCRC. We were so sorry to see him go! On his last day we presented him with a certificate of appreciation, a pair of black traditional pants and a Cambodian blue and white karma, which Matt loved.
This is a belated posting with news of Matt’s farewell – but Matt, we hope you enjoy creating your own Cambodian food as much as you enjoyed eating the various dishes while here!
It’s not always about the patient – although 95% of the time it is, of course! Volunteer physio Kwun, from Perth, Australia, leaves us today and we’re delighted with a gift she has given to our most diminutive staff member, Sophak. Noticing that Sophak was having trouble with her back and that her standard-issue plastic chair was not helping the situation, Kwun has presented her with an office chair which is now providing much more support and comfort for our hard-working Admin/Outreach Coordinator.
Thanks Kwun for spending the last month with RCRC, working alongside our physio team to improve the lives of children and adults with a disability, illness or injury. The treatment we provide helps them to maximise their independence which often then helps to lift whole families out of poverty.
Many thanks Kwun, and we wish you all the best as you head home.