All posts by gwillg

Rose Charities Haiti Children and Youth program update

Two Soccer Camps were again held this past August, one in Jacmel and one in Lavalee. Each camp ran for three weeks and Monday to Saturday each week. A total of 170 children and youth attended the two camps which were coordinated by 21 volunteer leaders and 9 other volunteers.

The Soccer Camp in Jacmel was one of the best camps that the Haiti Children & Youth Project has organized, it hosted 110 participants and offered a variety of new activities.

This year the children and youth were divided into groups of 10. Every day of the camp the groups met with their assigned leaders to enjoy an activity and eat a meal together. The groups could choose from several different activities:

  • A trip to the beach or pool,
  • Visiting an art gallery,
  • Cooking,
  • A visit to the countryside just outside Jacmel,
  • A mission day (spending the day with a single parent family or an elderly person to help them with household chores),
  • Learning to make decorations with balloons and material for a celebration or party,
  • Visiting the historic area of Jacmel,
  • Going out for an icy and sugary drink, similar to a slurpee, called fresco.

Another change this year was that camp attendees, leaders, and volunteers prepared their own meal and occasionally went out for pizza or sandwiches. For many of the children and youth it was the first time they had eaten pizza and the first time they had eaten in a restaurant – for most pizza is now a favorite!

In the late afternoon the groups gathered for soccer instruction and soccer games along with relays and fun games OR an education session and informal talent show (singing, skits, dancing, reciting a poem, etc.). Soccer instruction and games were scheduled every second day with education sessions and talent show on alternate days.

At the end the camp all eleven groups in Jacmel decided to organize a potluck with each group preparing a different part of the meal and helping to decorate the project office for a celebratory party. Their creativity was amazing! This final camp event was an emotional moment and a fun time for all.

While in Haiti for the Soccer Camps, Jean had the opportunity to talk one on one with several of the participants in Jacmel along with some of their parents or guardians. Unexpectedly his guidance and counsel were needed for a few sensitive situations with youth and their families which, thankfully, all had positive outcomes.

Also, at the start of camp it was evident that a few of the children and teens were in great need of shoes or flip flops and clothes so some of the Soccer Camp funds were used to purchase these individuals the item of clothing they needed the most.

During the 2023 Soccer Camp, and with the support of very generous donors, 173 children and youth received school supplies and bursaries for the 2023-2024 academic school year.

This year-round program in Jacmel continues to have a significant and positive impact on the lives of the 100 children and youth who are registered to attend project activities in Jacmel. When Jean
spoke one on one with the children and youth who attend project activities, along with some of their parents or guardians, all expressed gratitude for the meal program. The parents and guardians are very appreciative because, since the program began, they have less stress about how they will provide adequate food for everyone in their household. One single mom shared that she is extremely thankful for the meal program because she cannot afford to cook everyday so it is a great reassurance to her that the project provides her three children a nutritious meal 6-7 days a week.

Many people in Jacmel and Lavalee, and all through Haiti, are unable to seek medical care from a doctor or nurse, or at a hospital, when they are unwell or have an accident because they are unable to pay for these healthcare services. The Medical Assistance program enables those in need to seek medical assessment and care by helping them pay their medical bills so – it is a real blessing for the community and saves lives.



On August 16th, 2023, Rose Charities and the world lost Jan Johnston, whose superpower was boundless compassion for the needs of others and the world. It is impossible to enumerate the huge number of causes to which Jan, in her vibrant, energetic life had dedicated herself. Jan’s pivotal work supporting orphanages in Vietnam such as the Be Tho in Saigon led to Rose Charities Vietnam which ran a number of projects over the years. In addition to ongoing support for orphanage’s, this included support for a training school for the blind (Sia Centre) in Hue, and sight restoration surgery

One of Jan’s most lovely initiatives: to help re-establish in Than Thien Villagethe rural ancient art of paper flower making, for which Vietnam used to be renowned.

Rose Vietnam was also engaged in emergency relief operations, especially after typhoon and flood disasters, fore which suffering was acute in rural areas. (later, Jan used these skill sets in Cebu, Philippines, assisting with the organization of emergency relief and rebuilding after the terrible destruction of super-typhoon Hiyan). Jan handled on-the-ground arrangements fo the successful 2008 Rose Charities International Conference in Ho Chi Minh City at which she became the 2008 Charity Rose Laureate, Rose Charities highest recognition of volunteer service.

On leaving Vietnam, Jan and Bill generously spent half a year in Cambodia assisting Rose Charities Australia’s Consultant Physiotherapist Johanna Thomson in setting up the Rose Rehab Physical Rehabilitation Centre in Chea Chumneas Hospital, Kandal, in conjunction also with Professor Nous Sarom, the leading rehabilitation (and cleft lip and palate) surgeon in the country and another of the Rose Charitie ‘family’. At the end of her assignment, Jan researched opportunities to establish sustainable rural beekeeping operations. She travelled extensively around Cambodia and identified some promising sites and partners.

Jan supported and attended Rose Charities NY fundraisers including those a the famous Milk Gallery which was an exhibition of children’s art relating to the Asian Tsunami of 2004.

Most of the Rose Charities initiatives established or assisted by Jan (and Bill) continue to this day. At the same time, travelling with Bill on Canadian diplomatic assignments in several countries, she maintained a global network of friends and supporters due to her sparkling personality, her unwavering kindness and her determination to help others.

In recent years, the environment and the welfare of trees became her passion. A member of Elders for Ancient Trees, she was a tireless campaigner for sustainable forestry and protection of the remaining old-growth forests in B.C. It is for this reason that Rose Charities has started a tree-planting fund in her name, through Malambo Grassroots (Rose Charities in Zambia) , for anyone wishing to carry out one of the many causes dear to her heart.

We miss Jan deeply but Rose Charities is incredibly thankful to have had her as a star in the Rose Charities Family for so many years.

Jan Johnston Memorial Tree-planting Fund (select the fund in the list of causes)

Rose Charities NY, USA Re-launches October 2023

Rose Charities NY, Inc founded in 2005 was re-launched on 19th October 2023.

Fund-raising and activities had diminished during the pandemic. Prior to that however Rose Charities NY annual Street Hockey Tournament had been a highlight, raising funds to support Physical Therapy in Cambodia and other projects

Image above: Josephine Defreitas (President), Noot Seear (Director), Dr Wais Aria (Hon Sec)

Meeting held in Jin Fong Restaurant Thurs 19th October 2023.

Our focus will be on Health, Education and the Environment with Women’s Health a particular emphasis. We plan to support a Women’s Mental health Project in Afghanistan and a Womens’ Health Clinic in rural Ethiopia