After 20 years of successfully supporting and creating eye health services in Cambodia and beyond, Rose Charities New Zealand has officially wound up as a legal entity.
The charity was never intended to be a lasting empire, said chair Nicola Thomas, adding its ending is both a sad and happy occasion for everyone involved. “For just about two decades there has been a wonderful big group of supportive people in New Zealand who have responded to our every appeal. Nothing would have been possible without this very generous support and we are proud to say that everything we have done has been achieved with no administration costs of any kind – every donated dollar has reached its target.”
Looking back, retired optometrist Mike Webber said he felt privileged to have been a part of Rose Charities NZ. “After initial research in Cambodia, carried out by John Veale, Dr David Sabiston and myself, we decided that we could help prevent blindness in a country where eyecare services were severely limited at the time due to very low numbers of eyecare professionals.”
Dr David Sabiston, Mike Webber, John Veale and Trish Gribben working on Rose Charities business in Christchurch
Thus eyecare became the focus of Rose Charities NZ and after joining as a trustee in 2005, Webber made 15 trips to Cambodia, while Dr Sabiston made six and Veale five. “We focused on helping a wonderful Cambodian eye surgeon, Dr Hang Vra, and his Ukrainian wife and nurse Natalia, now an eye surgeon. Since then, three other New Zealand eye surgeons (Drs Ewan Fraser, Muhammad Khalid and Rob Weatherhead) have accompanied me on five occasions to teach at the Rose Cambodia Eye Clinic.”
Alongside Webber and Veale, the heart of Rose Charities NZ was fellow trustees Thomas (chair), Will Grut, Trish Gribben and Pip Neville-Barton, plus retired treasurer Jane Midgley and former trustees Heather Richardson and Pip Duncalf.
For more about the work of Rose Charities NZ, see https://eyeonoptics.co.nz/articles/archive/reunion-of-roses-in-phnom-penh and www.facebook.com/NZOptics/posts/5775143599224211