Change of LATEST NEWS address

March 2, 2013

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July 24, 2012


I don’t think I have ever seen so many rotten teeth as during this Dental Mission. The reason might be that at all the 3 venues where we set up the clinic, they had never before been visited by volunteer dentists.

The first 2 venues were small islands on Dawahon reef, which has a group of islands between Bohol and Leyte Islands. Here Dr. Rachel from England points out the first area we went to.

As mentioned in our previous blog, the main livelihood for the islanders were that of growing and harvesting seaweeds used as food additives. Very few from these islands had ever visited a dentist, and most had never used a toothbrush.

Many of the teenagers were well on their way of losing their front teeth, so we tried to do what we could to restore them, as these young ones have their whole life ahead of them, and being able to meet people and situations with a winning smile would definitely be to prefer.

Dr. Alex was so happy to fix the front teeth of a number of teenagers. What a wonderful gift they received – all free of charge.

When we examined the high-school students from Hingutanan Island, bad front teeth was a common problem. Many of the students had teeth that were past fixing, so we left them in if they didn’t give them pain, just so that they could still use them to bite. We were still able to treat this girl.

Nikolaj proudly shows the beautiful restoration he did on this girl, and she was elated.

On to “Sea Turtle Lagoon Resort” at Camoboan, Tabogon to the north on Cebu Island. We set up the clinic in large tents in their big parking area.

Flemming is the main organizer of these large events, and here he’s inspecting the table with all the instruments and materials the dentists would use in their treatment.

Mrs. Natividad Ruiz (right) was faithfully at the receiving area welcoming the patients and together with her barangay helpers, they filled out the registration forms with the basic data, making it easy for the dentists to just fill in the information of teeth treated and medicine prescribed.

Dr. Martha helped examining the patients and sending them off to the sitting area waiting to receive the treatment.

Though information had been disseminated to the whole area, we were faced with having very few patients the first morning, so Sally, our host and owner of the “Sea Turtle Lagoon Resort” and Elisabet went around to the elementary and high-schools in the area, informing them again of the Dental Mission and that all the treatments and medicine would be for free. It was almost too good to be true! But it worked, and with parent’s permission, the children came for the treatment.

Recently we were so fortunate to receive a mobile digital X-ray from USA as a donation for our Dental Outreach Programs, as there are times when the dentists need to be able to determine if it would be safe to extract a tooth/teeth from a patient. Here Elisabet and Flemming are working with the equipment. A big thank you to DEXIS for their donation!

Dr. Martha is taking an X-ray of a patient while Dr. Mona (left) is observing.

At the end of the Dental Mission at the “Sea Turtle Lagoon Resort”, everyone gathered for a photo. In the middle front waving to us is Mrs. Sally Kelly who hosted the dental mission and had done a great work preparing for this event – the first of it’s kind in Camoboan. Our stay at the resort was pleasant and the food was excellent. You made it easy for us to be good!

We want to thank everyone that had a part in the Dental Mission – the sponsors, dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants, dental technicians,  nurses, barangay health workers, police and security personnel, cooks, banka-boat captains and personnel, drivers etc. etc. You all helped to make a difference. In the 9 days of treatment, we treated 1160 patients, restored 734 teeth, extracted 1763 and gave prophylaxis treatment to 88 patients. Our dental hygienists were busy instructing school children from 5 schools in the need of tooth-brushing and how to properly do so, going from classroom to classroom. They also helped mothers of small children understand the need for them to actively participate in brushing the teeth of their small children.

It was a wonderful Dental Mission, successfully completed.

You can read more about the dental missions here.

If you would like to give a donation toward this program, you can do so here.


Story and photos: Elisabet Hansen

Dental Mission July 2012

July 16, 2012


Having sponsors that wanted to help the poor population on outlying islands, we prepared for the dental mission to be yet another “island hopping” adventure. Traveling so far with all the equipment and a large team of volunteers takes a lot of planning, and there were several steps to getting there.

At our center in Happy Valley, Flemming, Gabe and Mars worked for several days testing all the equipment to make sure it was in good running condition, packing it down, shopping for medicines and materials and also borrowing beach chairs from a KADVO, a Japanese Foundation, to supplement our own dental chairs.

After packing the 2 vans, they sailed from Cebu at 6am Sunday morning to be able to get to the Dawahon Island to set up the clinic so that when the rest of the dental team and volunteers would arrive Monday morning, the clinic would be all ready and the dentists could start immediately giving treatment.

All the equipment was transported to the islands by banka-boat. Danny and Mars were part of the “movers”.

Dawahon Island is part of a whole string of islands on the Dawahon reef, in the straight between Bohol and Leyte Islands in the Central Visayas. These people are fishermen and seaweed farmers. The population of Dawahon Island is almost 5000 people, with a large population of children. We talked with the midwife, and she said that generally 10-11 babies are born there every month. Supplying seaweed to big corporations that process it into food additives is their main livelihood as the seas around the islands are shallow and perfect for growing seaweeds.

This is one of the seaweed farmers getting ready to dive in for work.

Dr. Rachel had recently broken her right arm, so couldn’t work on treating patients, but she faithfully did the examination of the patients every day. Here together with Dr. Sabah. They have been partaking of the dental mission several times before, so they immediately fell into the rhythm of the mission.

We set up the clinic in a church, and here Danny, who is a newly certified nurse, joined us from Manila, works on putting the sterilized equipment back into the trays.

Dr. Kasper is one of the dentists who have been part of the Dental Mission in previous years, and were happy to be part of the mission again, helping to relive the patients of their pain.

Dawahon Island had never before had a dental or medical mission, so we were received with open arms. The kids loved to get their photos taken. Here with Elisabet, Dr. Alex and Nicola.

Many children had 4, 5 or 6 teeth removed as their teeth were beyond repair. It was hard to imagine how much toothache these children had suffered.

We have many things to share with you, but we are now off to another venue in Tabogon on the North East side of Cebu Island. We will be treating the poor inhabitants of the area throughout the week. Our last day of treatment is Friday July 20th. Stay tuned for more news from sunny Cebu!






July 6, 2012


We started with the tooth brushing program in 6 elementary schools in Mandaue in December 2004, and it proved to be a solid program with good results. (See Here we are, 8 years later, and the program is still running, thanks be to the companies and individuals that believe in the importance of the program and are willing to sponsor it year after year.

Sapangdaku Elementary School is situated up in the hills behind Cebu City, and there is no road that leads down to the school, so 6th grade students came up to the road to help us carry the boxes down the hill, over a river and into the school.

This will be the 4th year that we have been running the tooth-brushing program at this school. Thank you to “Philippines in Mind” who faithfully have been sponsoring the program. This will be their last sponsoring, as their Association is being dissolved. The people behind “Philippines in Mind” are young Danes that have taken part of our internship/volunteer program, and they wanted to continue to help the Philippines after they went home to Denmark. Thank you to all of you for your participation through the years. It has been wonderful working together with you!

At the turnover of all the materials for the “Essential Health Care Package” – Jenny, Elisabet, teachers and the principal and Marie together with some of the school children from 4th grade.

Turn-over of all the materials at Cesar M. Cabahug Elementary school. The program is sponsored by FMC Philippines, Inc.
Left to right: Elisabet, Praxedes Mira (FMC Environment/Health/Safety Manager), Zenaida Sucalit (Looc -School Principal), Felda Porillo (FMC HR Coordinator), Marie, Lorna Cabatingan (FMC Nurse) and a Looc school teacher

Together with the DepEd dentist, Dr. Rumolo Uy and his assistant, Jun, Flemming delivered all the materials to the schools in LapuLapu City: Pajo and Lo-ok Elementary schools have almost 4000 students and are sponsored by TMX Philippines, Inc. This is the 5th consecutive year that Timex are sponsoring these schools, and it has made a marked difference in the oral health of the children.

MEPZCEM, the board for the international economic zone on Mactan Island sponsored Sudtongan and Timpolog Elementary Schools with together 2,100 children.

One of the schools on the program is Tingo Elementary School in Olango Island, and the team had to load all the materials onto this pumpboat and sail across the channel.

And it can be hazardous to balance on this board carrying the heavy boxes of toothpaste, toothbrush and the hand soap – thank God that the day of delivering the materials to Tingo, it was relatively calm seas. Christ Leather Philippines has been the faithful sponsor of this school.

We know that the Essential Health Care Package is an excellent program, which we are proud to promote. Whenever people request information about our different program, we never fail to promote the toothbrushing program, hoping there will be more sponsors of the program.

At one such meeting with a Korean business man, we shared with him about this very good and cost effective program – it costs 34 pesos per child per year for toothpaste, toothbrush and handsoap. This is less than 1 US$ per child which is way below the cost if the schools were to buy the materials in a local grocery store. We at the Rise Above Foundation follow up on the program and contact the sponsors for every new school year, and we are so thankful that all of them are still on board, and want to continue to help the Philippine school children this way.

Guadalupe Elementary School is a new school on the program from June 2012. Every time a new school is added to the program, Flemming holds a seminar at the school regarding the problem, the need and the solution to better Oral Health for Philippine children with the attendance of the principal, teachers, sponsor and representatives from the parents (PTCA).

Guadalupe Elementary School has 6000 students, so this time grades Kinder, 1st and 2nd grade received sponsorship.

All the teachers from Kinder, 1st and 2nd grade attended the seminar. Flemming is giving the instruction. At the table is the sponsor, Mr. Terry Kim, his secretary, Nicky , the assistant principal and Dr. Ewayan.

Flemming is explaining how important it is to only use the prescribed amount of fluoride toothpaste. The toothpaste containers (like the one he holds in his hand) come with a “stopper” which will only give a pea size amount of toothpaste on to the toothbrush.

Dr. Ewayan is giving Terry Kim a plaque of appreciation for the donation to the school in the form of all the materials for the tooth-brushing program.

Having children brush their teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste causes less caries and with that less absence from school because of toothache. With healthy teeth, the children can eat healthy foods, which in turns gives them the energy to study. A WIN-WIN situation indeed.

We at the Rise Above Foundation want to express our appreciation to all the sponsors of this program. It will have far reaching effects and you are making a difference for collectively 25,000 children on the program in the greater Cebu area. There are several hundreds of thousands  school children ages 5-12 years old, so we still have a long way to go.

If you are interested in sponsoring a school, please contact us at:


Story: Elisabet Hansen

Photos: Flemming and Elisabet Hansen


July 4, 2012


We have written earlier on our blog about Jeanrey, and you can read it here for the full story.

Recently Jeanrey graduated with magna cum laude and was honored as # 2 among all the students that graduated from the University of Cebu. Here he is flanked by his mom and dad Gina and Renato Cordova and representatives from the university

A diploma to be proud of!

Jeanrey received his Certificate of membership to Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Here flanked by his dad, Renato Cordova, and Flemming Hansen

A few days ago Jeanrey came to our Rise Above office and proudly told us that he now was hired by Citibank Makati, Manila and will start his job on July 16th. 2012.

We congratulate Jeanrey with his excellent performance. He studied hard, were focused in reaching his goal, and he did it!

When he left our office, he said, “Mam Elisabet, I promise you that I now will take care of my family. Say thank you to Per from me, and thank you to all of you at Rise Above for making my dreams come true.”

Wow! What we are working so hard to achieve is bearing good fruit, and it sends us forward on our journey with thankfulness in our hearts that we can help many such persons as Jeanrey Cordova.


Story and Photos: Elisabet Hansen

Juliette’s Wish Came True

June 28, 2012

Juliette is a “new woman”. She walks with her head lifted, a smile on her face and with no pain. It has been a good journey to “walk her through” from the first request made by dear Marites Lazarte, when I visited her before Christmas. Through the following 2 months, friends gave small and larger donations toward Juliette’s new artificial leg, and it was a big day for Juliette when we came and told her that we had enough to buy her a good quality artificial leg that would not give her pain. Through many visits to the orthopedic company, she was measured, the attachment to her leg stump was fitted perfectly, and she was able to get it perfectly adjusted – the hight of the leg is very important, so she would be able to walk without a limp. All this was done over a period of about 2 months. We made a video to tell the story, which you can watch here.

Juliette, Marites and Elisabet
The artificial leg as it looked first time we met Juliette
Measuring Juliette’s leg
Making the cast for the attachment of the artificial leg to her leg stump.

The front part of the foot was broken, and she had taped it together to be able to still walk with it
Beautiful Juliette. She is so happy!
It was a happy occasion going to the orthopedic company, and we were joking around and laughing.

We want to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for helping Juliette with a new leg. You have helped changed a person, and this person – Juliette – will always be grateful to you for your sacrifice of giving. We pray that God will bless you many fold in return. One thing we know for sure is that — YOU NEVER LOSE BY GIVING!


Photos and story by Elisabet Hansen


June 14, 2012


It is a custom in the Philippines that students have a graduation ceremony when they move from Kinder to Grade School. On a Friday in May, the children at the Family Care Center, held their yearly graduation.  They had prepared a week to put the program together. The mothers and siblings had taken the morning off to see their child participate in the ceremony. While waiting for everyone to arrive, the children were busy preparing their hair and practicing their dance moves.

In the background is Nida, the teacher, together with the 4 Danish interns and Marie, who is the overseer of the Family Care Center. The children are excitedly waiting for the program to start so they can receive their rewards. To the right is Katherine Canillo from Norway, who lives in Cebu City together with her family and is a volunteer with Rise Above. Thank you Katherine.

These children have been chosen from very poor families, to be given a chance to study, and having had 2 years at the Rise Above Daycare center is an opportunity that is greatly appreciated by their parents. Without this opportunity, most of these children would never be able to go to school, because the parents can simply not affording the school materials and uniforms.

The teacher, Nida, giving the final instructions

At little past 10 am, the ceremony started with everyone singing the national anthem. This was then followed by dance numbers and singing by the children. The children, led by teacher Nida, were then called up by names and given rewards, in the form of ribbons, for best in math, arts, the most polite, helpful etc.

The dance performance

Some of the children entertained the others with dance and song

The children were awarded

Out of the sixteen children, there were six who graduated this year. There were five boys and one girl. When the children received their diploma, you could see that they were proud.

The graduates were given a diploma

The graduates were given a diploma

The Danish interns had spent time shopping and cooking for the occasion, and there was plenty of food for everyone. Thank you to Anne-Sofie, Christina, Mathilde and Christina. (Yes, there are two of them with the same name 🙂 )

If you would like to sponsor a child’s education, please visit Rise Above’s homepage:  for further information.

Written by: Kathrine Canillo

A day at the Victor Braun Vocational Training Center

June 14, 2012


On Friday May 4th, I visited the Victor Braun Vocational Training Center which helps people with intellectual disabilities or mentally challenged from age 16 and upwards. Through Rise Above, Camilla V. Braun, is completing her internship at the training center.  Together with another Danish student, Mette, Camilla is helping the students at the training center with learning basic housekeeping, food preparation, cooking, paper, wood crafting, carpentry and gardening. The training center also has its own water refilling station, where the students learn how to refill water and at the same time earn some money.

I was met by smiling students

It is the nuns that go out to the communities and recruit the students. The students attend the training center for maximum 2 years before they move on. The training center is open Monday thought Friday from 08:00 to 15:00. The number of students varies. But usually they are about 12 students. The staff is open to suggestions from the Danish students. When asked what is the biggest challenge Camilla says, “the communication”. The students are not always easy to understand and she does not know the local language Bisaya. However, Camilla and some other Danish students are taking a language course once a week to learn. She says that even though I only understand one word, I can imagine the rest.

Camilla surrounded by a happy bunch

I asked if she knows the background of the students at the center. She says that is actually what her project “student profile” is all about. She is in the process of gathering information about the students such as their strong side and their weaknesses and what the training center has to focus on. The names of siblings and family background are also important for the communication to improve. Her project will be implemented from the next school year, which starts in June.

The Danish students are free to choose which country they wish to complete their internship. I asked Camilla why she chose the Philippines. She answered that she actually wanted to go to Australia. But since none of her friends were going and she was recommended Philippines by other students that had completed their internship here, she decided to come to the Philippines. She had no expectations before coming. “It is better to keep an open mind”, she says.

On her days off, Camilla and her friends go out a lot. They have already explored some of the neighbouring islands. They go shopping and partying. “Just having fun”, says Camilla. She has made a lot of good friends here, who she will miss dearly when she leaves. She says that Filipinos have the same view as her, that everyone is equal.  “I really like the people here. They have big hearts. Even though they have little, they give back”, says Camilla.

When Camilla returns to Denmark she will only have six months left of her 3.5 years of study. But before she flies back to Denmark she will take a vacation in Thailand.  After she has ended her education, she wishes to work with mentally challenged people who are older than the ones she has worked with now. But before she steps into the working life she wants to “travel the world”, she says with a smile. And she definitely wants to return to the Philippines. “Either as a tourist or maybe working”, she says. Camilla has already received a lot of work offers.

Written by: Kathrine Canillo


June 13, 2012
Going with our little team of 4, to ‘Sapankgaku’ Elementary school was a heart touching experience! We were welcomed with so much joy from the kids, the teachers and the volunteering mothers!  We felt our hearts jumping and we grabbed all the love given! This is the 4th year that we are able to offer this service to the school through sponsoring from Europe. A special “Thank You” to “Philippines in Mind” in Denmark and Hans-Ulrich from Switzerland.

Sapangdaku Elementary School is situated in the hills above Cebu City, and all the students come from very poor families.

The children were so happy to see us again! And the feeling was mutual.

Many renovations and up-grading work for the school are happening: painting, new wooden windows, the building of a spitting through (sink) so it will be easier for the pupils to wash their hands and brush their teeth…. !

Everywhere we give help to schools with our food program, the reaction from the school is to do their part also by improving the school and inspire the children to be good students.

Volunteer mothers help, and the teacher in charge, always come to see that everything is working well.

Marie, together with Danish interns, Anna-Sofie and Christina, from our Family Care Center are cutting the vegetables into tiny pieces so that the children will eat all their vegetables.

Love wan’t put in your heart to stay…
Love isn’t love ’till you give it away!

We are committed to cook every week for the whole school year. If you would like to help with the food preparation, then call us on 255 1973/1063 and let us know that you would like to help out. The feedings are every Wednesday, so please be at our mission compound at 8.30 am latest. Address: 252. I. Limkakeng St. (Formerly 4th Street), Happy Valley Subd., V. Rama Ave., Cebu City.
Or you can also sponsor a ‘Feeding’ at our Livelihood Center Slum Area! Remember 1 pot is for about 500 kiddos and we have 4 of these pots! You can help feed as many as you wish – you can even choose where!
For details call Marie: 09233501959
Or if you like to contribute and donate …. write us at
 (Written and Photos by Abi)

Rise Above Livelihood and Cooperative

June 8, 2012


Rise Above Foundation’s aim to provide livelihood for the mothers and the commitment to improve the lives of poor Filipinos took yet another leap. With the efforts of the people from Rise Above, the mothers were duly registered for a respectable cooperative to serve as their organization.

Here are some of the mothers gathered at our Rise Above Community Center for the seminar, joined by members of Rise Above Foundation team.

The livelihood program started with Fair Trade seminars and workshops in making bags out of used rice, animal feed sacks. The laminated sacks, printed in the country come in vivid colors, which make the finished product attractive. The mothers perfected their skill in bag-making over a period of time to ensure quality and craftsmanship. Creativity comes naturally for them as well; they are pitching ideas on new designs as well as combination of colors and its functionality.

Three lovely French models:
Stefanie, Olivia and Abi

In a nutshell, a cooperative is an autonomous and duly registered association of persons, with a common bond of interest, who have voluntarily joined together to achieve their social, economic and cultural needs. This will help the mothers share common aspirations by making fair contributions to the capital required, to support their products and services and accepting a fair share of benefits.

Dolly is holding her first creation – a small coin purse made at the workshop exactly 1 year ago, where she learned the skill of bag-making. Now she weaves beautiful bags, and also laundry baskets as shown in the photo. Dolly is a hard worker and has taken on added responsibilities.

Their great ideas are appreciated! Here one of the women used the reverse side of the sacks and made a beautiful sling bag.

A powerful team of dedicated women and men – who are determined to make the project a success!

You can partake of this program by promoting and marketing the bags. For every purchase you make, or get others to make, you indeed help mothers earn their living, enabling them to feed their families and give education to their children.


Article written by Bea Eudela