Janne's November 2019 Newsletter
Dear Friends and Partners,
It has been a while since I have written, the reason was that I took a few months leave to prepare for my approaching end years. It is very good to be able to do so. It is very good to be back and to see how much the hospital has progressed. Let me share some of the good news.
When I arrived last week, I met a woman and her family. Song Thou is dying from a very pervasive cancer, one that causes her tremendous pain, one that leaves her unable to eat and to drink. Her suffering is even more poignant as she is the same age as I am. I felt guilty standing by her bedside I am in good health and as her son told me you have so much energy! We have built a Palliative and Pain Centre run by a very capable and compassionate Dr. Ly. Within 30 minutes he had relieved her nausea, he had relieved her pain. She slept the day away. In the evening she woke, and she talked with her family. Her end of life is near, but her end will allow her to say her goodbyes, to sleep without pain, to eat without throwing up. I am so very humbled and thankful for this gift. Dr. Ly can help with any kind of pain, whether it is intermittent, long term, end of life, he can do it! We are bringing comfort to women who are hungering for relief.
We are getting solar panels, enough to run the hospital for phase 1 and 2, enough to save us a minimum of $5000 US plus per month in electricity costs, enough that it won’t matter if the electrical grid is down for hours each day, how very good that is! It should be completed by early January. The cost is $US160,000.00, with so many smaller donations that have come in, we have raised enough to pay for $US20,000 of it. Will you help us to pay for the rest? If you can support with a donation please click here.
Our next big news is that we will open up our obstetrics unit in the first quarter of next year – I am soooo excited about helping women bring in new life – to be part of the beginning of life while my end years have started. How good that is! In conjunction with the obstetrics we will open up our surgical department. This process will begin next week with the installation of oxygen, gas and vacuum lines for our four surgical theatres, 4 delivery rooms, 2 recovery rooms, our ICU, and emergency rooms. With those will come specialized air-conditioners and air purifying units. The cost is $US165,000, money we don’t have but believe we will receive because so many of you will help us. Just think of all we can do I am so grateful! If you can support with a donation please click here.
We have received a number of our smaller machines: colposcopes, Leep machines, ultra-sounds, x-ray, mammogram; too many to mention. The result is that we have been able to do minor procedures such as removing vaginal polyps and warts or completing a botched abortion, where the mother’s life is in danger because of pervasive infection, without our help it would be her end of life.
We have examined and treated women from all walks of life each day new patients arrive, and others return for a follow up session. Women are beginning to come from our Tabitha villages what a comfort that is to me personally.
As the upcoming holiday season approaches, I am so humbled by the birth of a child so long ago- Christmas is about the gift of this child – the gift of life! Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital is the extension of that gift of life, that gift of love. Each day brings us new challenges, new miracles. Each day is the beginning of hope for women with no hope. You made that happen! How good that is!
Janne's May 2019 Newsletter
Dear Friends and Partners,
It’s good to take a minute to write and say thank you to each of you for your support and help over the past few years for the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. Much has happened since our soft opening in March.
The past two months we have been involved in the hiring of new staff; setting up procedures and protocols; continuation of the outfitting of the hospital. We have been training using volunteer patients – many of whom come from within the Tabitha programs.
My main concern has always been, are we who we say we are? Do we treat patients with dignity and respect regardless of income or social status? Will the women come and why would they come?
One very hot day, 10 of Tabitha women arrived – the first thing that struck me was how very excited they were at receiving this opportunity to be patients. It was a bit unnerving so I stated once again this was training for all our staff and things might be a bit haphazard. We quickly learned of another area we had not thought of as the women were required to produce an ID card – the first 4 women had none and were told to go home and get it. Not a great way to start the practice session! We quickly solved this problem.
The ladies went through registration and triage; then doctors consultation, lab work etc. I watched as our doctors examined the women – how wonderful to see them engage the ladies in the process of ultrasounds – of having diagrams drawn to explain their issues, of being forever patient for lab results.
As the ladies were finished we had a debriefing session with them. Dr Suren our CMO and Boumi our pharmacist asked the ladies of their experience. The universal reply was how welcomed they felt by everyone. How warm and welcoming the building was. The comments continued of how much they appreciated being talked to with the doctors; the explanations and kindness they were shown.
Dr Suren asked how often they had had a gynecological exam before. The answer never! Why not! Oh the doctors they had visited before were always angry with them; they never had time to explain anything – in fact they were made so uncomfortable that seeing a doctor had become a nightmare and they were loath to go to a doctor. Suren was horrified – how can this be? Being a poor person did not qualify a woman for any dignity or respect?
I watched and listened and felt a deep glow inside – who we said we were all these years was becoming a reality. How good that is!
The hospital will open its doors to regular patients on June 4 – the past two months have been good ones – difficulties with a severe lack of electricity are slowly being resolved. Training is an ongoing practice – setting up hospital IT systems are in process; so many good things happening.
I am so grateful for all that has happened and is happening. I am grateful to all of you for being an integral part of all of this. I am grateful to my God for this great privilege. How good that is!
Janne's April 2019 Newsletter
Dear friends and partners,
It has been an amazing month – we had our soft opening of the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital – a time of 3 days of celebration and recognition that our purpose for existence has begun.
We had two wonderful days of blessing ceremonies – an opportunity to dedicate ourselves and the hospital to a much higher authority than ourselves. How good that is!
In the midst of the ceremonies – the electricity would go off – a much needed reminder that solar energy is the way to go. In the midst of our celebrations we were reminded of what and whom we are – a plea from a sister for a sister accompanied by a picture of a horribly diseased breast – we are not yet ready to help as we need some much needed equipment. At the end of the celebrations we discussed our role as a teaching hospital – teaching newly graduated young people how to serve in gynecology; radiology; oncology – and so much more.
We talked about our self sustainability – how we can serve better with the resources from within Cambodia augmented with resources outside Cambodia – fully recognizing that our strength must come from within.
So our new phase begins – and new plans initiated. With these plans come ideas for financial sustainability.
Firstoff please see the list of essential equipments needed for phase 1 and 2 – if a line is colored it means someone has donated funds for this item – if you would like to donate an item send us an email – and when your donation arrives we are able to purchase this item.
Our second outreach is for memberships for women who are unable to meet the membership fee - women who have tried hard but are unable to find appropriate help – our goal this first year is 10,000 members - perhaps this is something you would like to help with.
The membership fee is $A80 ($US60) and donations can be made here via Rotary.
Our third outreach is fundraising itself – a way to insure that our running needs are met for the following year – so here is the challenge – I challenge you to join me – over the next 6 months I am determined to walk, run, bike or swim 100,000 kilometers for $10 USD per kilometer.
We are down to 999,990 km thanks to Glen Streten who sponsored me for ten kilometers walking – I did it on the beach in Sihanoukville! Send me your photos so I can post it!
I believe in miracles – all of you and us have achieved is a miracle – and the miracles continue – I thank my God for each of you – I thank my God for miracles – how good is that!!
February 2019 Hospital construction update
Febraury 2019 Hospital construction update
Nokor Tep Women's Hospital Grand Opening Invitation
Dear Friends & Partners
What a wonderful way to start the New Year of 2019. We want to wish each of you the best of 2019.
For us at Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital, this year is the beginning of our next phase of work – Phase 1 of serving the women of Cambodia.
This short video provides more information on the Hospital plans & opening.
The hospital will open in phases with phase 1 - dealing with gynecological issues – dealing with breast cancer screening and cervical dysplasia – a process of prevention and diagnosis of cervical cancer. The hospital will continually evolve in being able to provide more services as we move form phase to phase.
The realization of our vision – to reach out to the women in Cambodia for these issues is beginning. It has been a long road to this point – developing the concept – architectural plans – construction over 5 years - but we have arrived. We are so very blessed.
I am so very thankful to my God for this privilege – so thankful for each of you.
Janne's December 2018 Newsletter
Dear friends and partners,
In this special month of Christmas, I am always a bit nostalgic for all the Christmases I have lived – in so many places and in so many ways. For me personally - the main focal point is the gift of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Why do I speak of this – because it is of God’s great love for all of us – for me – that I have started the process of building a woman’s hospital. Jesus had compassion and gave healing to so many. His heart aches for the people.
But I am not the only person who has lived by faith – who has built hospitals in Cambodia – King Jayavarman the seventh – a devout Buddhist - of the ancient kings in Angkor Wat who built 102 hospitals –
Jayavarman VII established 102 hospitals throughout the kingdom. The inscription of Say Fong notes: “He suffered the illnesses of his subjects more than his own; because it is the pain of the public that is the pain of kings rather than their own pain.”
The 14th stanza of this same inscription says: “Through warriors (doctors) versed in the science of arms (disease) he destroys the enemies who infest his kingdom (the sick) by using his weaponry: medicine.” The inscriptions of the hospitals (twelve have been identified) all speak of construction and provide long lists of patrons….
This is what Nokor Tep Hospital is all about – compassion for the people – feeling the pain of another. This is Christmas for me.
Please watch this new Nokor Tep November 2018 Video to know more about Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital and its needs to start providing quality services.
In this month of December, the physical plant of the hospital will be 95% completed. As in the olden days- the names of each of you who have stood with us in this process will be inscribed. This December is the near ending of another phase of our dream – it is the marking of the beginning of the next phase of our vision.
I am so thankful to my God for each of you who stand with us – so thankful that He has granted me this life! On behalf of all of us from Nokor Tep – we wish each of you a Merry Christmas.
PS : You can view the latest Hospital construction update here.
Nokor Tep Fundraiser - 20 October 2018
With the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital due to open in early 2019, there is need for a large range of medical equipment, consumables, furniture etc, to support the Hospital’s start up. So far three containers of donated medical equipment & supplies have been shipped to the Hospital from Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth.
We are aiming to send more containers of medical equipment, consumables, furniture, supplies etc. to Phnom Penh during the next 6 months and need your help.
Come & join us on 20 October at our Melbourne “Fun Casino Night” with Blackjack, Roulette, Poker, Money Wheel, Gold Coin Games, Raffles & prizes !!
Tickets are $45 per person including finger food provided and seed fun money.
Drinks at bar prices.
Beaumaris Bowls Club
1 Martin St
Purchase Tickets @ Trybooking
September 2018 Hospital Update
To view the September 2018 Hospital update video click here.
Nokor Tep Fun Casino Night
The Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital in Phnom Penh will open in early 2019. During the Hospital’s set up there is need for a large range of medical equipment, consumables, furniture etc. So far three containers of donated medical equipment & supplies have been shipped to the Hospital from Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth. We are now planning to send more containers. Each container shipment costs approximately $A8,000 including the purchase of the container and shipping costs and we need your help!!
Our next fundraiser on 20 October 2018 is focused on raising money to send more containers to Phnom Penh.
Come & join us for a Fun Casino Night with Blackjack, Roulette, Poker, Money Wheel, Gold Coin Games, Raffles & prizes !!!
Tickets are $45 each
Finger food provided, drinks at bar prices and fun money .
Beaumaris Bowls Club
1 Martin St
Purchase Tickets @ Trybooking
Janne's June Newsletter
9 June 2018,
Dear friends and partners,
The past few days have been special for us at Nokor Tep – we have had several sets of visitors visit the site. Their comments lifted our souls – comments like how spacious it is, how beautiful the colors: how good the atrium looks, how beautiful the floors, - what a wonderful place for our women to come.
We move continuously towards the completion of the hospital – after my last news letter – two donors came forth with funds for the atriums – the small one complete – the big one well under way.
We received funds for about a third of the doors and windows needed – a couple of toilets - pipes being installed – how good that is.
The colors are on each floor – one wing painted so we can be sure it is good – warm inviting colors – colors of peace – we need your help to be able to buy all that we need.
And now we have added another item to the list – solar panels – enough to be able to run the entire hospital including the big machines – such a cost effective and energy saving way to help our women. We need 2140 panels with equipment to be able to do this - each panel cost $250 USD each, a huge challenge but one that will make us financially sustainable within a few years.
Another very exciting aspect is the preparation of our warehouse rooms in the basement – containers of donated goods are beginning to arrive. Preparation of our transformer and UPS rooms - which are arriving very soon – will allow us to be able to fully install safe electrical currents.
I am so very thankful to my God for all of these blessings – beginning to see the end of construction and moving to a new phase of outfitting – how good is that.
I am so thankful to my God that we have set the final date for our opening – no longer a soft opening but will be an opening where Nokor Tep has begun to function as a hospital – the date is March 18, 2019 – a year later than the soft opening but this extra year has made it a reality.
I thank my God for each of you – for standing with us in so many ways – for being patient and hopeful – for making it happen. How good that is!
Janne's Easter Appeal
Dear Friends and Partners,
A few weeks ago we had a house building team of women come and visit the hospital. The visit was one of sharing ideas and admiring the progress. There was one theme that several women kept bringing up – tell us what you need now! We want to know what you need now!
This March is also the Lenten season – a season of preparation for Easter – a season of grace – of hope – a time for reflection and anticipation.
So I am combining a list of things we need right now as we continue to move towards the completion of the hospital building in anticipation of hope and grace for the women of Cambodia this Easter season.
We need windows – lots of windows – 387 windows to be exact – the cost is $US30 / $A40 each- windows that bring in light and cheer for women who are in despair.
We need doors – lots of doors – 639 doors to be exact – the cost is $US50 / $A65 each – doors that will open and welcome yet grant privacy and safety to women who need both.
We need paint – lots of paint – 25 kilo cans - 350 cans – the cost is $US145 / $A190 per can- each floor a soft pastel color to bring warmth and cheer to women who are hurting.
We need toilets – lots of toilets – 232 to be exact – at $US100 /$A130 per toilet – that will bring comfort and cleanliness to women who struggle each day for both.
We need atriums – 2 of them – 1 small over the entrance –at $US2,500 / $A3,300 for the small one – and $US25,000 / $A33,000 for the large one. Steel and glass to reflect the light and grace our women deserve.
This Lenten and Easter season perhaps many of you will be able to buy a window or door or paint or maybe even an atrium cover. AS the walls continue to go up, plumbing and electricity begun – as the vision moves towards reality – I present each of you with our needs.
All donations can be made via our partners at Rotary . When making your donation please specify the item(s) you're buying.
I thank my God – for this Lenten season – for Easter – for each of you who stand with us in this journey of Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital – how good that is!
Thank you and Happy Easter,
Construction Update # 84
Janne's December 2017 Newsletter
Dear friends and partners,
I want to take a moment to wish each of you all the best this holiday season. I think of so many stories of Christmas – of all the hustle and bustle to bring good cheer to our families and friends – of lights and music – of snow and of beaches – all memories of past Christmases and plans for this one.
At Nokor Tep we are so busy this season – busy with putting up the inside spaces – rooms where I have visions of women being screened – others of rooms filled with medical people talking and sharing of how best to treat a woman – I have visions of laughter and wonder as women discover that they can be cured – of receiving a second chance in life – I see visions of comfort for those women whose life is coming to an end.
Our worker elves are so very busy putting up bricks, installing banisters, stringing electrical lines, plastering and painting – excited about bringing our vision to reality. So much still needs to be done yet it is all happening.
We receive so many presents this year from so very many of you – Nancy with her painting class; Charlotte with her concerts; Jemane with her half marathon; Sam with his Ridethon - Russell and Margret with their faithfulness and the list continues – too many to mention but not one forgotten.
I think of people who are willing to open their hearts with their knowledge and support – people like Mel, Anita, Lyle and Ken – John and Paul, Narith and so many more – people who help us think through what needs to be done and how we will help.
I think of the greatest gift of all – the gift of Jesus birth – the grace and mercy given to me – to all of us- and I have visions of our hands touching the hands of women who are hurt and tired – of feeling ashamed and alone – of standing with them and letting them know they are not alone. That is what Christmas is all about.
From all of us at Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital we thank you for your gifts and wish you all the best this holiday season.
Construction Update #82
View the latest update on the Hospital's construction
Construction Update #81
Construction Update #80
Janne's October update
October 2017 – Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Dear friends and partners,
Good morning. This past week I was in Singapore doing my talking rounds. One of the Events was called Bubbles and Bling put on by Tabitha Singapore – it was a very lovely event with 95 women attending. When it came time to talk to the women – I thought - how do I make clear to these women our needs for the hospital? Very few people I know have funds that could cover such big purchases- how can I make it possible to achieve our dreams with women such as I?
So I made a challenge to these women – I asked each woman present to have a private event – perhaps a dinner – and invite a group of people specifically to learn about the needs of women in Cambodia – very few of whom have any access to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment – a right that each of us take for granted. I challenged each woman to raise $2000 at these private events – if each did so I would have one mammogram machine. But we need two so I challenged each woman to do two events – then I would have 2 machines. The noise level in the room increased substantially as every woman in the room began to discuss how they could do this. The challenge has been taken up. The goal is to have the funds for two mammogram machines by the end of November – enough time for us to order and receive the machines before our soft opening on March 8.
The previous evening was another special event - Torie and Michael put on a Trivia Night called Insurance Trivia Wars. What an evening it was – I was put on a table called the Uninsurable – how very appropriate as I am uninsurable since my breast cancer bout. It truly reflected the Cambodian women that I work with – not only are the uninsurable but undeserving of even basic cancer care. That evening 120 representatives of various insurance companies came and heard – came and played- very noisy group and at the end we were $23,000 closer to our vision for Nokor Tep to be a reality.
So why share this with all of you – so many of you who are so faithful in your support – because we need an MRI – we need a Cat Scan – CT – we need 2 exray machines – none of which are cheap but are very necessary.
So I have a challenge for all of you – if each one of you were to have a private event which would raise $2000 – I would have enough to buy at least two of these machines – if each of you did two private events – then I would have enough to buy all the machines – what an extra-ordinary gift that would be. I would need all these completed before the end of November so that I could order the machines and ave them installed before our soft opening on March 8.
Yesterday we had a remarkable first at the hospital – 17 young volunteers came and helped paint the hospital. It was very challenging as the students learned how to paint in an orderly fashion. This was all in preparation for a group of 400 Cambodia young people coming for a day in November to help paint the hospital.
What was so very poignant about all of this is that one of my-cofounders Sieng was deeply touched by these young people. He wrote a short note which he shared with me.
“My youth as a young volunteer of the Red Cross in 1972. I was 15. To all volunteers…. Digging latrines in 1972 for refugees taking asylum at the apron of Monivong bridge led me to return to Cambodia to serve my people and more importantly to co-found with Phavi and Janne Ritskes, Nokor Tep, The Women Hospital. The dirt, the sweat of refugees and the bad smell of unburied feces, all contributed to the awakening of a teenager conscience, to building up his service to the people. Most of my friends died during the Pol Pot Régime - three or four of them did live to serve the people as doctors and social leaders. All of us kept the flame to make the difference for the benefit of the society.” What a privileged life I live – I am surrounded by people of many nations – of many backgrounds – all of us working together to give life and hope to the women of Cambodia. I am humbled that my God would think me worthy of such gifts – I am humbled by the grace of each of you. It cannot get any better!
Hospital construction & fit-out update - #79
The Hospital building continues to get closer to completion & the internal fit-out work is accelerating.
How good is that!!! Thanks to all!!!
Hospital construction & fit-out update - #78
Updated Cambodian Nokor Tep website
The Cambodian Nokor Tep Women's Hospital web site – www.nokor-tep.net - has recently been updated .
This update was important as we progress to the fitout phase, start preparations for the opening of the Hospital and start the serarch for medical and administrative professionals to volunteer from across the Globe to help in setting up the Hospital with local Cambodian medical professionals.
Please visit the website on a regular basis to see the latest on our fit-out needs, volunteer positions and achievements .
Hospital construction & fit-out update - #77
The latest Hospital construction update - click here
Big news - Hospital Opening March 8 , 2018
The official soft opening of Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital will be March 8, 2018 – International Women’s Day.
A great day to celebrate the opening of a women’s hospital !!
Hospital construction & fit-out update - #75
Hospital construction & fit-out update - #74
To view the latest update on the Hospital's construction & fit out , click here .
Special fund-raising appeal & challenge
Dear friends, this year we will complete the physical structure of the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital.
It has been a wonderful journey. Now we are looking to the next step for which I ask for your help.
In order to be able to purchase equipment that will help the women of Cambodia,
We are having a very special fundraising campaign
Nails for Nokor Tep
Our Goal is to have 1 million people worldwide donate $10 through this special campaign.
Of course men who really don’t want to have their nails painted can pay double - $20 –
If neither of these options appeal to you –
These dates cover several major holidays, Khmer New Years and Easter –
Donations of more than $5 will get a tax deduction for Australian tax residents.
We need your help to reach 1 million people – I am asking for a miracle – I am asking you to be part of this miracle. I ask you to help spread the good news of Nokor Tep and its needs. Only by your help can this happen. If you could – send me a quick email – tell me about your plan of action – date – event –challenge .
I am so grateful to my God for all of you who stand with us and have made the hospital building possible – I am so grateful to each of you who will make the miracle of equipment possible. How very good that is!
Invite to an evening with Janne - April 12
AN EVENING WITH JANNE RITSKES
WEDNESDAY 12 APRIL 2017
6.00 TO 8.00 PM
You’re invited to meet the inspirational, Janne Ritskes, Founder of Tabitha Cambodia and one of the Founders of the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital .
We will hear from Janne regarding the progress of the Hospital, plans to open in 2017 and the latest on Tabitha Cambodia's family & community development programs.
Location - McKinnon Hotel
251 McKinnon Rd , McKinnon
Tickets $30 per head
Includes arrival drink & finger food.
Drinks at bar prices.
We will have some fundraising activities
throughout the night including a silent auction.
Lots of great items to bid for!!!
Click here to buy your ticket
Please help in making this night a success,
share with your family & friends
and invite them to join us.
Janne's visiting Melbourne - April 12
Janne is visiting Australia during early April and we are planning a function in Melbourne for the evening of April 12 .
Come & meet Janne and hear about the Hospital's construction progress and the latest from Tabitha Cambodia.
Keep the night of April 12 free with more details to come in the next few weeks.
Janne's February update
Dear friends and partners,
I trust that the first month of 2017 was a good one. For the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital it was a month of unbelievable blessings – we had several donors come forth and make the completion of the hospital structure look possible. From the Ellwanger Family we received $720,000 USD, from the Howman Family $500,000 USD and from a young musician - FLUME – aka Harley Streten - an amazing $100,000 USD.
What do these gifts mean – it means that we can finish the vast majority of work needed to complete the structure of the building itself. The beginning of 2017 is truly a miracle and will end with a soft opening towards the end of 2017. How good is that!!!
Now we must begin the process of outfitting the hospital with equipment – equipment that is essential for diagnosing and treating the women who are suffering from gynecological and women’s cancers. We need an MRI, 2 Cat Scans , 3 X-ray machines, a linear accelerator and a Brachy machine. We need 2 large ultrasounds and 20 smaller ultrasounds as well as 40 dinamaps for vital signs. We need 150 beds and 4 complete operating theaters. We need equipment such as several autoclaves and industrial washing machines. We need computers and IT software, shelving units and furniture such as desks and chairs. We need 5 elevators, a large back-up generator and suitable cooling machine for air-conditioning. And the list goes on!
It sounds impossible but it isn’t – you see – I BELIEVE in MIRACLES. What you and us at Nokor Tep have achieved to date is a miracle – a miracle that will transform the lives of millions of Cambodians. In April, I turn 69 years of age – for those in their 80s - I am young – for those in their 20s - I am old. I have already lived 20 years longer than many of my fellow Cambodia sisters – you see I hast cancer and I had treatment – many here had breast cancer but there was no treatment.
My daughter Miriam asks me what I want for my birthday – my answer is simple – I would like a Million people to donate $10 so that when I turn 70 - I can hold the hand of a woman who would have died too young and in great shame – and tell her, I believed in miracles and you my sister, have life because of that miracle – simply because all of you not only helped but you encouraged others to help.
I thank my God each day for the life He has granted to me – I thank my God each day for each of you – you are all part of the miracle of giving life to women here in Cambodia.
How good that is!!
Janne's December 2016 Newsletter
December 6, 2016
Dear friends and partners,
On the way to work this morning I heard the sentiment of Peace on Earth expressed on the radio. Peace, a sense of well being, of contentment – something longed for by so many all over the world but an elusive desire.
Here in Cambodia many of our women do not live with peace – they live with shame and pain - shame because their personal body parts have developed diseases that leave them tired and sore – for many it leaves to long drawn out process of dying – of leaving behind loved ones – of leaving a not quite finished life. Click to view to the video
Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital is in process of bringing some sense of peace for the women here. Peace is not an easy value to achieve – it requires time and courage - it requires faith and commitment – it requires understanding that peace must encompass all – not just oneself. Our vision is an enormous one – one that will affect millions of women here and perhaps millions in other counties as we become a model for others to follow. Our vision requires time – time to build and outfit – time to employ and train – time for millions to pass through our doors over the next millennium.
This holiday season I thank my God for each of you – for your faith in Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital – for your stance to bring peace for the women here. Christmas is about anticipation and hope – you and I together, bring anticipation and hope for the many women here. I thank my God that this is so.
We have a campaign this Xmas season to light up a Nokor Tep Christmas Tree in Cambodia.. We invite you to donate the value of one of the gifts you are giving this Christmas to help complete the structure of the Hospital & bring this vision so much closer. We also would like you to encourage your family and friends to donate and light up a Nokor Tep Christmas Tree. To donate, via Rotary Australia, please click here
From all of us here at Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital we wish all of you PEACE this holiday season.
Help make Christmas 2016 more meaningful!!
Tabitha & Nokor Tep Cambodia are focused on providing care & support to improve the lives of women & their families. This Christmas season they need support from their friends across the world to continue their amazing work.
We invite you to donate the value of one of the gifts you plan to give this Christmas, to help fund the fit-out of the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital & light up a Nokor Tep Christmas Tree in Cambodia.
All donations will be processed via Rotary Australia who will email a tax receipt. .
The last week has been exciting. Plastering is being done inside, bricks have reached the top floor, new stairs were completed & the fence outside was completed. Also spaces inside the hospital have been decided and internal walls will now begin to climb. How good is that!
To view the latest video , Construction update # 70 , click here
Hospital Internal Fit-out Donations
We are aiming to open the Hospital in March 2017 and construction has reached an exciting phase - the start of the internal fit-out. In the next few months thousands of bricks will be laid to complete the internal walls, 22,000 meters of floors painted, 350 windows installed, 200 sinks installed, 500 electrical switches & wall sockets wired plus more!! We are seeking help to fund all of this work - a donation of $150 will help buy a window, $100 a brick, $25 a sink, $15 an electrical switch or $10 will contribute to painting a square meter of the floors. All donations will go directly to funding the internal fit-out.
To make a donation click here.
Janne's October 2016 Newsletter
Did you know that October is Breast Cancer awareness month? You and I live with so many blessings – so many choices – and we have these blessings because people before us fought for these privileges (rights-as some would say). Today I want to ask each of you to claim this privilege and get a mammogram done – or get your spouse, mother, auntie, and daughter to get it done. You see, the thing about breast cancer is this– the earlier we detect – the greater the chances of survival. People before us and our close ones now, believe that each of us is beautiful and precious – worthy of making this choice.
I live in a country where that choice is not available to the ordinary woman of Cambodia. Like us, they also worry about their health issues- the most personal ones such as breast cancer are causes of great shame- the thought is that the woman must be bad – somehow she deserves this affliction. This is no truer than it is for any of us. I am making a personal plea that you love yourself enough to have a mammogram and that you may love a woman here enough to make her chances of a mammogram possible by donating to our women’s hospital Nokor Tep. Today, you and I have the opportunity to be pioneers for the millions of women in Cambodia.
So what is our progress at the hospital.
In the last month we have finished pouring the floor on Level 3 (E3) that was to be our "roof" and we have started the internal fit-out with the painting on the first floor. To view the latest video update, just click here.
Phavi, Sieng and I have had some recent hard discussions about the future. If we complete the building of the 5 levels (basement, ground and 3 levels above ground) now we will have the space for growth over the next 10 years but if Level 3 remains the "roof" – then we probably need to add to the building in 4 years time – at great expense and to the detriment of our patients. We made a decision to build a roof over Level 3 subject to donations coming in but not just enough for the roof but especially to finish the fit-out of the inside of the building. A bold vision – a vision we will hold on to for two more months to see if the funds will come in – otherwise Level 3 will be our roof.
We also have an end goal in mind – we are aiming to have a soft opening of Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital in March of 2017. Again this is completely dependent on funds coming in but we have great faith that these will come.
Over the past two months we have met with our medical advisors every Wednesday night for three hours – laying out the patient flow and spaces within the hospital. I am so proud of our vision – a safe haven for women where they will be treated with dignity and respect.
We are also developing an equipment list – I can tell you that there is now available equipment that would make diagnosis and treatment efficient and effective while maintaining the dignity of women – personally - I get so excited about what we will be able to do – that sometimes I feel I can’t wait another day. It’s like waiting for a Christmas present – faith in getting one – but patience in having to wait until the right time. (This list will be available on our web site by end of October).
Construction Update # 69
This is the latest update on the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital construction, the first hospital in Cambodia dedicated to women’s health. Click here to view
Construction Update #68
Click here to view the latest constrcution update #68
Janne's July 2016 Newsletter
Dear Friends and partners,
It has been a number of weeks since we last talked – the reason for this is that Miriam and I went to Canada to visit family, friends and to do some speaking with Tabitha Canada. In our college hunting for my daughter - Miriam selected her school of choice – McMasters in Hamilton Ontario. How grateful I am for these special moments.
On my first day back I met with a house building team – the Margarita’s had a lovely build – but they also became acutely aware of the need for Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. One house that they built was for Yea Chien and her family. Yea is 55 years old and has been ill for two years – she has a lump in her belly – a lump that has swollen to the size of a basketball. Yea takes herbal medicine – she cannot afford anything else – they are so poor. The team was saddened and helpless in her plight. My soul aches for her – my hands are empty – in Cambodia a house is so important to die in – why must she suffer so?
So I want to share our progress.
We have 70% of the roof poured! How good that is! to view our latest update click here
But our need is acute for the rainy season has started and we would like to complete the roof by the end of August – just before the big rains arrive. In order to do so – we need $US100,000 – I know how big an ask this is – yet there are so many women waiting and the urgency to help continues to swell.
Then we need to finish the inside structure which we can do as the rains fall - $US150,000 will allow us to complete stairs, finish elevator shafts, brick and mortar the walls, finish the floors –it will look so beautiful!
Electricity to run the hospital – in order to run all our equipment including the operating theaters and radiation units we need to increase our electricity to 800 KVP – a very generous Cambodian donor, is donating the cost of wire and electricity poles, plus installation costs to the hospital – but we need to buy a transformer at the cost of $US57,000.
I will continue to update each of you as the progress continues – it is ever so much fun to share our specific needs now that the end of the construction is nearing.
I should mention that we have made a decision not to work with just one partner but to work with many partners at Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. There are some very exciting discussions ongoing with a number of likeminded groups. In this process we are looking for some outstanding people to come and work with us – we are looking for a Hospital Director, a Chief Medical officer and a Chief Financial Officer. These positions are volunteer spots – with a minimum commitment of 18 months to 3 years. For those who may be interested -this is an opportunity to leave a bit of yourselves – your imprint on the lives of millions of women – this is an opportunity to leave your mark in the medical world!
I believe that with all your help – this time next year – I will no longer have to face another woman such as Yea Chien with my soul in turmoil. I thank my God for my life, for each of you who give life to so many. May it be that together we can bring the mercy and grace we live with in such abundance to those whose lives are so difficult! How good that will be!
PS: The fifth annual Ride for Nokor Tep is coming up in early September 2016 and this year we have a record number of riders who need your support. For details on the riders or to sponsor a rider click here
Construction Update #67
The latest construction update can be viewed here
Construction Update # 66
To view the lastest update on the Hospital's construction , click here.
Janne's May 2016 Newsletter
May has been a very good month with rapid construction progress.
The 2nd level floor structure is now 100% complete. Work on the support beams for the roof are progressing rapidly with over 170 m3 of concrete poured on May 28. In addition the brick walls of the basement level are progressing very well.
I recommend that you take a look at one of our recent videos to see how far we have come -
The continuing construction of the Hospital has only been possible by the generous support of many people across the globe. In March we launched a special appeal to raise funds to complete the building structure and start the internal fit-out . The global response was fantastic and a significant amount was raised to support the ongoing construction.
In addition others have been organising functions to increase awareness & raise funds for the hospital.
In Melbourne on Sunday May 15 around 100 people attended an Open Mic afternoon listening to some extraordinary young talent, catching up with friends and raising more than $1500 to support the Hospital. Thanks to all the performers and to the organisers Cathy Emmerson , Dianne Jones & Dean Travis.
Last Saturday , May 28 approximately 220 people attended the Music Night at Meeniyan Hall in regional Victoria. The night was full of comedy, singing, music and rock & roll plus raffles & auctions. A great social night plus over $6,400 was raised to support the Hospital. Thanks to the principal organisers - Camille Shaw, Tarnya Wilson & Sarah Price and to all the performers and others who supported this event .
So many of you are helping us to complete the building !!! How very good that is
May is the end of the international schools school term here in Cambodia and Mirriam & I are heading back to Canada to catch up with family & friends ...
I will be back in July ….. Until then all the best…..
Construction Update # 64
Janne's Mother's Day Update
Dear Friends of Nokor Tep
Mother’s Day – also May 8th in the Northern Hemisphere – is a day when we celebrate the lives of our mothers – the gifts of love and caring – the gift of our lives. In the past several months Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital has been honored by some very special mothers.
The Queen Mother of Cambodia –Her Majesty: Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk – invited Phavi, myself and several other support people from Nokor Tep to come and visit her at the palace. The Queen presented us with a cash donation towards the building of the hospital. Her Majesty was delighted about the progress of the building and talked of the great need of the women for our services. She spoke of the battles of Cambodian women to receive treatment when they were ill. It was a special hour – an hour where we talked and stood together in our efforts to bring health care to the women here.
Ride for Nokor Tep Newsletter #3 - May 2016
Dear fans and supporters of Ride for Nokor Tep,
Well things are truly heating up (pardon the pun) for this years Ride. We have had a great show of interest from new and previous riders and this years ride is gearing up to be the biggest yet!!
If you are interested and will be doing the ride, we just ask that you SIGN UP NOW and don't wait. We need to get all riders signed up as soon as possible so we can start working on logistics such as hotel rooms, transportation, additional tour guides, mechanics, etc.
Construction Update # 63 - April 2016
Nokor Tep - April news
This week is Khmer New Year in Cambodia, which means it is 12 months since Janne visited Australia to launch Nokor Tep Australia. In this first 12 months our focus has been on building awareness of Nokor Tep Women's Hospital and fundraising to support the construction.
We started with a small mailing list of approximately 100 people and today we have over 630 people on our mailing list and another 390 plus people are following us on Facebook. There have been multiple social fundraising activities and donation campaigns that have resulted in more than $A96,000 being raised and sent to Cambodia via Rotary or directly by Nokor Tep Australia. In addition the Ride for Nokor Tep Australian donations were in excess of $A42,000!!!
Overall what fantastic support from Australia in the last 12 months. Thank you to all those who have actively lead a fundraising event or activity, attended a function, volunteered or made a donation.
Construction update # 62 - April 2016
Last update on the Hospital's construction before Khmer New Year
Janne's March Newsletter
How much has changed since we made the decision to finish and start our first phase of the operations of Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. We have had an unusual amount of visitors come and see what we have done. That is always an honor.
It is relatively straight forward to explain to people the various functions of the hospital space, what will happen, where it will happen, how it will happen. Visitors are amazed at what you and I have accomplished so far – the building is impressive – as Bart said - a man who has built several hospitals in Asia – what a beautiful space – what a lovely design. I can’t help but suffer from a few pangs of pride coming from a person with so much expertise.
I have had the privilege of sharing and talking with Gary – a physician who knows Cambodia – serving in so many capacities in the health field for a number of years – our vision of reaching out to all women in Cambodia –regardless of status or rank. Gary’s compassion and vision match ours – he reminds all of us how important it is to treat each woman with dignity and respect.
Construction update # 61 - March 2016
Special Appeal - Buy a Brick
SPECIAL APPEAL - BUY A BRICK IN THE NEXT 30 DAYS
Many of us who have daughters, sisters, wives and mothers have the privilege of being able to take them for medical or hospital care if the need arises. Even today, most women across Cambodia do not have ”this luxury”.
To allow us to begin operations during the first quarter of 2017 and start providing better health care to women across Cambodia earlier, we decided last month to finish the Hospital’s current construction at the 3rd floor.
Tabitha Cambodia's Savings Program
The Tabitha Savings program is one of the fundamental ways that Tabitha supports family & community development in Cambodia. Since inception more than 514,000 families with 4.2 million dependents have participated in the program. In 2016 Tabitha aims to have a further 17,000 families participate.
Glen Stretten from Sydney has produced a video with Janne about poverty and how Tabitha Cambodia’s saving program provides families a way to grow, change their lives and move on from poverty. View the video at https://youtu.be/spHwCtL9PqI
The families & communities that grow & develop from the Tabitha savings program will also benefit from the completion of the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital and the provision of improved health care services for women.
Ride for Nokor Tep 2016
The ride for Nokor Tep is back on again this year, same great route, same friendly format using Siem Reap as a base for 3 days and same great cause. Save the dates , September 5th to September 10th inclusive and book your annual leave now! This year the ride will finish on the Saturday with a family and friends ride of about 20klms so all can share in the excitement of finishing at the hospital. Who knows, we may even get Janne on a bike. Full details will be available shortly at Ride for Nokor Tep
Hospital Progress Aug 2012 - Feb 2016
Review the progress of the hospital's construction from August 2012 to February 216 , click here
Exciting news on the Hospital
Good morning. We have made some serious decisions regarding the hospital this past week. We believe that these decisions will allow the beginning of services to the women of Cambodia by early 2017. Let me share these decisions and our needs:
1 Hospital construction
We have decided to finish the current size of NKth at the 3rd floor – we will make this into a roof with the ability to be changed into another floor with minimal effort. This will give us 3 full floors of hospital use – and room for expansion as we grow.
The rationale for this is that the hospital space is now big enough to provide services at a good rate. We also do not have enough funds to finish the entire building – at the current rate of funding it will take another 3 years.
Update on 2016 Nokor Tep walks
On Saturday January 30, in Phnom Pehn, the Fifth Annual Walkathon was held with over 760 people Cambodians and Internationals walking to raise approximately $US50,000 to support the construction of Nokor Tep Women's Hospital. On Sunday January 31, in Australia there were also good participation in the Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth walks to support Nokor Tep. How good is that ! Huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone that participated or supported our walks !!
Stichting Toetssteen visit Phnom Pehn
Supporters of Stichting Toetssteen, a Dutch Not-for-Profit organisation, are visiting Cambodia and today met with Janne at Tabitha's Phnom Pehn offices. Thank you to the team from Stichting Toetssteen for their financial support and good luck with the housebuilding in the next few days!!
Support the walks for Nokor Tep
Alternatively if you would like to make a donation use this link- http://www.nokortepaustralia.org.au/index.php/donations/australian-donations
Insert the comment “Australia 2016 walk” when processing your donation.
100% of all Australian funds raised will be sent to Cambodia to support the construction of the Hospital.
Janne's January Newsletter
During 2015 we made great progress with the construction of the hospital. At the end of December the basement, first floor & second floor structures are complete and the pouring of the third floor is in progress.
All this has been possible from the support of thousands of people across the globe that have supported fundraising activities or made direct donations. We thank you and hope that you can continue to support the hospital and the women of Cambodia.
2016 is going to be a big year!!
Hospital Update January 18
Janne has had a great start to 2016. The hospital is making great progress and for the last 3 weeks, Janne has had her sister, Nancy & brother in law, Wolf visiting from Canada.
Nancy & Wolf have visited the hospital on multiple occasions and have seen great progress during those three weeks -- the construction of 2 large septic tanks; the construction of another 10% of the third floor and then the pouring of that section: they saw the beginnings of the next section to be poured; they saw the new road in front of the hospital to the main road, they saw a new toilet block being built and they saw the preparation of the road around the hospital.
Nancy & Wolf prepared a short video on the progress they have seen from December 29 until January 18 -
Janne's December Newsletter
Christmas is coming soon – it is the month of hope and faith – a month when we remember another woman so long ago – who gave birth to her child in a barn – a woman for whom there was no room – a woman whose poverty made life so very hard. This woman Mary had great faith in her son, Jesus without truly understanding what this was all about.
Christmas is about faith and hope and Mary represents so very many women here in Cambodia - women whose lives are so very difficult. For these women Christmas has no meaning – there is no expectation and so little hope. For these women life is extremely difficult and painful.
Hospital progress - August 2013 to October 2015
Just as a reminder of how far the hospital as come from its start in August 2013 to this month here!
Nokor Tep update #55
Find the latest Nokor Tep Update here!
Janne's September Newsletter
Dear Friends and Partners,
Today is the beginning of October
Nokor Tep update #54
See the video here
Jannes August Newsletter
Dear friends and partners,
It is not a good year in Cambodia. The rains have failed to come and the vast majority of farmers are on the move as their crops fail and hunger looms.
Jannes July Newsletter
July has been a humbling experience for myself and my cofounders Phavi and Sieng. Let me try to explain. First thing was that we sent out our first serious appeal for 2000 people like yourselves to support the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital at $100 per month. The response was immediate and generous from many of you – it allowed us to pay our bills and to hope that each month we would be able to pay our bills.
Nokor Tep update #52
Find the latest update video for the Nokor Tep Women's hospital here.
Nokor Tep update #51
Here is the latest progress video for the Nokor Tep Womens Hospital.
Ride for Nokor Tep - Newsletter 6
No fancy tour buses, no fancy support cars, no nutritionists and teams of doctors, just dirt, sweat and tears.
Jannes June Newsletter
Dear friends and partners,
This morning there was an article in the Cambodia Daily about a Cambodian woman assisting in the trafficking of 4 teen age girls to China for a life of prostitution. One of the women had her sentence commuted – the judge said: we treated the woman leniently because she is dying. “Because she has breast cancer and she is waiting for the end of her life, we allowed for mitigating circumstances.”
Carmen's High Tea
What a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. On May 31, 2015 Carmen and Felice Stocco opened their home and their hearts to host family and friends at a "High Tea" to raise funds for Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital.
Ride for Nokor Tep - Newsletter 5
We now have 3 months to go till the start of the ride and after Janne's recent plea for support, we are all excited and anxious about raising some funds and get this hospital on its way to completion.
Nokor Tep update #49
Jannes May Newsletter
Dear friends and partners,
WE ARE In CRISIS MODE and NEED YOUR HELP
It’s the month of May and the temperatures are in the high 30s and low 40s – you would think our contractors would be in slow mode but just the opposite has happened – they have gotten ahead of our ability to pay for the materials and work being done on the hospital.
Ride for Nokor Tep - Four Months to Go!
With just under 4 months to go there are an increasing number of riders committing to participating in the Ride for Nokor Tep.
The ride starts in Siem Reap on Monday 7th September 2015 and will finish in Phnom Penh on Friday 11th September 2015. This is a great opportunity to support the development of Nokor Tep whilst seeing the sights of Cambodia.
More details are contained in the Ride for Nokor Tep newsletter #4.
Janne in Singapore
Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital co-founder, Janne Ritskes, was in Singapore last week and spoke at the hugely successful Stones That Rock 'Well Women' Lunch about women's health, an issue very close to her heart. Fab food, fun prizes and a great time was had by all - thank you Stones That Rock, for supporting Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital.
Narrabri High School - A Cambodian Experience
Narrabri sits comfortably in the Namoi Valley equidistant from Brisbane & Sydney and many miles West of the Blue Mountains, in Big Sky Country. About 7,300 people call Narrabri home. Serviced by road & rail it is somewhat isolated due to the distance to larger centres. The daily air service ceased recently, further isolating the town from contact with major centres.
We Need Your Help.
In Australia we have started with a good base of Nokor Tep followers & supporters. However, we want to expand this base & reach more people with the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital story and now need your support to spread the word.
Jannes Australian Visit
Khmer New Years is over - a week of celebrating life with family and friends. For Miriam and me, it was an opportunity to celebrate with our new family in Australia - the Nokor Tep Foundation Australia.
An Evening with Janne Ritskes
Ride for Nokor Tep - Five Months to Go!
With only five months to go until the Ride for Nokor Tep begins in Cambodia it's time to start getting organised!
Firstly, riders should be starting to think about funraising for their the cause, as this of course is what the ride is all about.
Huge support from LUSH!
Big news! LUSH North America is throwing major support behind the Nokor Tep Women's Hospital project! On March 8th, International Women's Day, the company will launch a special appeal to customers to join the One-in-a-Million fundraising campaign and help us complete construction. MANY THANKS to LUSH CEO Karen Wolverton and the entire LUSH team for their amazing and heartfelt support.
Ride for Nokor Tep 2015 - Who's missing from this photo? Is it you?
Don't miss your opportunity to get your face in this years photo. We've heard your feedback and we know you all live busy lives and sometimes its hard to get away, thats why this year we have provided 3 different options for the ride.
February update on Hospital construction
As of February 26, 2015 25% of the pillars for the second floor are done. Watch the video...
Tabitha: Empowering Cambodian Families
From the official blog of William E. Todd, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia.
When I fly back to the United States, I often take gifts for my family and friends. In my search for unique gifts made in Cambodia I have visited many stores in Phnom Penh, and one of my all-time favorite places to shop is Tabitha Cambodia, a non-profit organization started in 1994 by Canadian citizen Janne Ritskes. Not only do I find special, wonderfully-made handicrafts at Tabitha, but I know that my purchases help to support local families and communities.
The Fourth Annual Walkathon was full of love for the Cambodian women as the participants celebrate their Valentine's Day walking for a great cause.
The event was a HUGE SUCCESS!
Letter from Janne Ritskes - January 31, 2015
Dear friends and partners,
It's hard to believe that the first month of 2015 is almost gone and we are heading towards February – a month of love – well, Valentine's Day to be exact. So you ask, what is so special about Valentine's Day this year? We are having our 4th Annual walkathon here in Cambodia – an event that celebrates the variety of life in this country. People come from the bustling city of Phnom Penh, cross the Mekong in a ferry – early enough to enjoy the sunrise and the cool breezes. Walkers get to enjoy village life and then this year, get to walk through rice fields surrounded by ponds – it is ever so quiet and so very refreshing. On the home stretch of the walk is village life culminating with the end line celebrated in a grove of mangoes.
What else is so special – the wide variety of people who walk – peoples from a dozen nations mixing with Cambodians – people who enjoy a high status in society walking alongside those for whom life is so difficult – people who are educated mixing with those who cannot write their name – people with designer shoes walking alongside those who have no shoes. Each person oblivious to these social status points for a few hours as they become family while walking together.