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)