Archive for the ‘NEWS’ Category


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


Walk a Mile in His Shoes

May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012

Written by: Kezhia C. Galdiano

“I’m so thankful that there are people who are still concerned, spending time with us even we’re in this kind of place” said Nene, a detainee of Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation, Kalunasan Cebu (BBRC), a female prison in Cebu City.

The sun was up 9:30 in the morning on April 20, 2012, when Suzy, the daughter of the project manager and the director of Rise Above Foundation, Inc. Cebu, and I visited the Women’s Center at Brgy. Kalunasan. She goes there every two weeks and share God’s word and read them life stories and personal encounters to those women who are in jail. Inmates feel valued and cared for when some concerned individuals render activities to them inside the center.

Every time we have this sharing, I become more excited to hear stories about different people’s struggles. It has made me stronger to face the trials in my life. Though my family doesn’t visit me here anymore, when these people visit us, it makes me feel like they are my own family,” said Nikki, a detainee from Cagayan de Oro charged with human trafficking and sentenced to life imprisonment. Hearing those words from her touched me deeply. Just simply visiting and talking to them meant a lot – a simple act of kindness had a great impact.

Exactly 9:30 in the morning that day, the bible sharing started with a prayer. Then, they sang praise songs led by Suzy on guitar. I saw the sincerity on their faces while they sang along. Joyful song, Walk a mile in his shoes, I love you Jesus were some of the many songs Suzy played.  Those praise songs were written by different missionaries around the globe, said Elisabet. They enjoyed harmonizing. The lyrics of the songs, even though so simple, moved my emotions. The lyrics were about life’s reality, struggles in one’s life, to empathize with others who are in need, that God is always there to help if you just believe in Him, to be strong and have faith.

Suzy then read an article from a magazine named “Activated” entitled “Change the World”. It’s all about how an Indian man changed his world in a simple way but it made a big difference. While reading, Suzy expounded on the text so that those who could hardly understand would grasp the message. She explained and illustrated the scenario for them to visualize the story. She also related the story to her own personal experiences. “Problems and struggles in life are our life partners. It is how we overcome them, ponder the lessons and learn to trust God in all things whatever comes our way”, said Sita, one of the old inmates.


I also shared words of encouragement to the inmates when Suzy introduced me. Not only Suzy and I were blessed by that moment, but also the inmates who were there to listen to God’s words.

It is not the religion that will save us. It is faith and believing in Jesus, that He’s our personal Lord and Savior. God is everywhere. God is within us. Jesus walked among the people, helping them, which showed that He loved them. Let us do the same. Let us not judge others, but put ourselves in their shoes and try to understand what kind of life they have – being in prison.

(We were not able to capture the moment we had with the inmates because  we’re not allowed to take pictures during our visit.)

Article Written by

Kezhia C. Galdiano, an intern with Rise Above from Mindanao State University-Main Campus




February 12, 2012

OPERATION RESTORE HOPE is an Australian based foundation who sends teams of doctors, dentists, nurses and other personnel to Cebu City to operate on people with hare-lip and cleft pallets. The Philippines has a very high occurance of babies born with this defect, and since 40% of the population live under WHO’s poverty-line of 1$ a day, children grow up without the possibility of correcting this deformity – unless they are lucky and get a free operation from volunteer doctors from different foundation – and today was the 1st day of a week’s medical mission at Lapulapu City Hospital on Mactan Island close to Cebu City.

One of the Rotary Clubs of Cebu are the arrangers of the medical mission.

Today was the day of screening the patients, and decisions are made as to what kind of operation would be necessary. The Australian doctors were joined by a team of doctors from USA.

Over 100 patients had turned up early in the morning and were patiently waiting in line. The youngest patient was a little baby girl of 6 weeks old, and the rest were in all ages up to adults.

Maureen, the Australian nurse in charge of the mission had communicated with Elisabet about the mission, and requested the presence of our clowns for the 1st day, as the colorful balloons and the clowns smiling faces always lift the atmosphere, and kids and parents are happy – rather than being fearful and anxious.

Abi brought some face paint, and painted hearts on people's cheeks and arms - as Valentines day is just a couple of days away.

Little John Michael lives close to our new Rise Above Community Center in Guadalupe, and Gabriel (in the photo) and Einar picked him and his mother up and brought them to the medical mission. Later this week, John Michael will be operated on - all for free!

Some of the children were afraid of the doctors, but sweet nurses and volunteers were there to help the children feel at ease.

Sheryl is a nurse, and she has volunteered several years in a row. Here she is attending to a little patient with a growth on his face.

We met Dr. Lothar Fulde in 2001 when we first were invited to join their mission as clowns. Lothar is a dentist, and he's the one who does the dental part of the operations. He has local dentists to assist him every year.

Everyone were waiting for the magic - blowing a bubble on to the puddle's tail, ha!

The clowns: Suzy, Abi and Lizzie together with happy mothers and children. We had so much fun!

We met William, who is part of a team who bring patients from other islands for the mission. Sabine arrived yesterday from Vietnam, as her, Abi and Elisabet will be entertaining with their music for different audiences through the Valentines week. In the photo is also Einar and Dr. Susan, a local dentist and member of Rotary.

When you see this mother and her daughter with such beautiful smiles, then you understand how important these missions are. The daughter has had several surgeries, and now has a happy and good life - compared to a life of shame and sadness.

It was a privilege to be invited to the “Operation Restore Hope” Medical Mission. Our part was a very small one – that of cheering up the kids and their families. The big job lies with all the doctors, dentists, nurses, anesthesiologists and all the other volunteers who make this mission possible. The Rotary team had worked hard to fund raise and arrange it all.  God bless you all for helping the poor Cebuano’s this way! You definitely restore their hope for a better future!



February 5, 2012

Volunteer Program

Our Volunteer Program includes everyone who locally or internationally sign up with us to work to help make life better for children as well as adults here in Cebu. The program started about 10 years ago after we got in contact with an international coordinator for interns from Aarhus university in Denmark, and she asked if students could come here as part of their internship period.

Flemming arranges where the interns will work, apartments or lodging houses for them, and he picks all the interns up at the Cebu International Airport and drives them to where they will live for the next 6 months.

It started with 4 teacher students, and yearly this number has increased, to where we in 2011 had more than 200 volunteers; builders, nurses, teachers, dentists and dental personnel, social and political science etc. We feel that this volunteer program is a wonderful way of helping people experience the joy of giving and caring, and the experience they get here is something that changes them and lives with them for the rest of their lives.

Dan (in the photo) and his wife Natalia is a Danish couple who worked as volunteers with children at a rubbish dump for 6 months. They are both IT professionals, but wanted to give of their time to help others before they would start having their own children.

Behavioral Science Students from Denmark

To arrange this program is a lot of work, and Flemming communicates with all these volunteers on a personal basis and answers all their email. To make it easier, standard information letters have been written that covers general information, and this is the first step in informing the volunteers. One document that is aimed for the internship students, is a description of the different institutions that we work closely with, and what kind of target group they focus on. In the iternship program for behavioral science student, we work together with 18 different institutions that cater to physically and mentally handicapped children and youth, criminal youth, abandoned and abused children (which includes street children) as well as daycare centers.

Camilla and Mette chose to work with youth with disabilities. They were warmly welcomed when we brought them to the institution, and it was "love at first sight".

The team from Rise Above who work hands on in this program is Flemming, the director of Rise Above, Marie, who works with the heads of the institutions, our social worker Aida, who works and communicates with the social workers in the institutions, and for the next 6 months, Lone, from Denmark who is a pedagogic professional for 7 years. She will be working as a counselor to the students. She is a friend of a behavioral science student who was part of our program years ago, and contacted us offering her help as a volunteer. With a program this size, help like this is highly appreciated! Thank you Lone!

Sixty-four of this group are behavioral science students from Denmark. Others were nurses and medical students and volunteers. Their internship period ends July 2012. The next internship period starts August 2012, and just as many have signed up for the 2nd batch.

This program is having a big impact in Cebu. Since we at Rise Above Foundation are only 8 adults who work full time with our different programs (see it gives us a feeling of satisfaction to this way be able to provide help in the many needy and often understaffed institutions. At the same time, these young people get an experience in a third world country that opens their eyes to the plight of the poor, and it furnishes them with knowledge about the Asian people and their culture.



January 20, 2012

Come all who will for free dental treatment!

Dental Mission January 9-13, 2012. "Svanen" Dental Clinic from Lyngby (Copenhagen) joined us for a 5 days mission and treated 503 patients! Well done!

Back row: If  Klaus (documentary team), Einar (Rise Above), Michelle, Carina, Lone (volunteer with Rise Above), Victor (documentary team), Mars (working full time with Rise Above), Flemming (Rise Above) –

Middle row: Johnny (working full time with Rise Above), Marie (Rise Above), Britt, Camilla, Per, Birgit, Dorte, Elisabet (Rise Above) –

Front row: Gabriel (Rise Above), Benedikte, Bodil, Birgitte, Mahzad, Carsten (documentary team) and Annafia

The dental mission was held at two locations. The first 3 days, we set up the clinic at Cebu Missionary Foundation’s school at Inayawan Rubbish Dump. It was quite an experience to see how people are living and surviving on top of the garbage in such terrible conditions. Yet, as Filipinos, there were always a smile and a welcoming and happy spirit. The contrasts between Denmark and the Philippines are so vast, it’s hard to fully comprehend how one can even find happiness in such a filthy and stinking place. So to have the free clinic operational there for 3 days, was a wonderful experience, and the whole team worked hard so that as many as possible could be treated.

Periodically, it rained heavily. It was good the rain had stopped when we went for a walk through the "residential" area.

Those SMILES! It was so touching!

The children were having fun seeing all the foreigners walk through their area and taking photos. Filipinos love photo-taking!

And what about a playground like this one?

Residents from the rubbish dump waiting in line for treatment

The 2 last days, the dental clinic was set up at a school for the Badjao population in the slums of Alaska Mambaling. Here some of the team are looking out from 2nd floor to watch the people in the "village".

Many got their front teeth fixed

Mars and Johnny are a big part of our work here in Cebu. They are two talented boys who love to learn. Mars has learned how to make dentures, and Johnny is learning technical stuff

It takes a lot of concentration to get a denture just right


...and after. It makes a big difference in a young person's life

This little girl already had a bad infection, so she was given free antibiotics. Marie also gave her a toothbrush from 3DP - Steka Reklame A/S, who sponsored 10.000 children's toothbrushes. Everyone were given a toothbrush, and the rest will be distributed in needy areas to help improve the dental health in Cebu

The dental team worked hard to treat as many patients as possible - and the documentary team watched constantly to make sure they got to record some good stories to tell

We have hundreds of photos from the 5 days dental mission, and we would have liked to share them all with you, because it was so inspiring to see the change it made in each of the patients. We are so very thankful for the dental team from “Svanen” who made this dental mission possible. You definitely made a big difference, and you’re always welcome to come to Cebu again. We wish you all the best for 2012, and that this beginning of the year was an experience that will live with you for the whole year and more.


January 10, 2012

A team of 12 arrived last Saturday from Denmark for the Dental Mission that we are holding from January 9-13. The dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and office personnel all work at “Svanen” (the Swan) dental clinic from Lyngby at the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr. Per Bjørndal, co-owner of the clinic, has joined our dental mission twice before, and was so touched by the wonderful experiences he had, that he decided to suggest to all his work-mates that they go to Cebu together, and as a team make a difference  for extremely poor and destitute people in Cebu.

Dr. Per and his assistant, Birgitte treating a patient from the rubbish dump

The dental team did fundraising for their trip, and brought with them a good amount of materials from companies who donated toward the dental mission. Flemming and Elisabet Hansen worked on getting it all organized for the Dental Mission that started Monday morning. We want to express our gratefulness! You are helping us make a big difference!

In Cebu, friends of Rise Above Foundation also gave donations toward the mission, making it possible to treat everyone for free.

Before the team started, they had to get acquainted with what kind of medicines, materials and instruments were available

This is how the clinic is set up. Everyone are working well together, and there was plenty to do for everyone

Mercedes, a 32 years old woman had 5 teeth removed, including two of her front teeth. Mars from Rise Above Cebu and Birthe made a small denture with 2 teeth to replace the front teeth she lost

No wonder Mercedes is smiling. Not only was she rid of her pain, she also received the artificial teeth that again made her feel like a beautiful woman

Mercedes together with the two technicians who made her new teeth - Mars and Britt

Lone, far left is volunteering with Rise Above for 6 months, and Lene are visiting for 3 weeks. They worked at the sterilization area, seeing to that all the instruments were washed and sterilized before being returned to the trays

Dr. Camilla and her assistant, Michelle worked hard to treat as many patients as possible

Dr. Per with his assistant Dorte together with two of the teachers from Cebu Missionary Foundation and the mother, all tried to encourage this little 5 year old girl to open her mouth for treatment, but she plainly refused. They will return again tomorrow. Maybe she will let the dentist extract her tooth. We'll see. It was filmed by Victor, who is one of a team of 3 that's working on making a documentary on the work the dentists from Denmark are doing here in Cebu.

The children are so brave. Only very few have cried. This girl is playing with Joe the Rabbit, who was here to cheer up a lot of kids, while she is waiting for treatment.

Day 2 is almost over, and the team have 3 more days to go. Stay tuned for more news from the Dental Mission among the extreme poor in Cebu City, Philippines.


January 3, 2012

We from Rise Above Cebu want to wish all our friends world wide a fruitful and fulfilling New Year!

We had a lovely time through the month of December, bringing cheer to people in need. Many gave a donation toward our request of giving a “Christmas gift to poor families”, so here we want to share a few photos.

Marie visited the Baclaan family in their "house" to give them their Christmas gifts in the form of 1 sack of rice, canned goods, coffee, milk powder, toilet paper, soaps etc.

Mars is working for the foundation, and he is a great help - it seems so easy for him to carry a 50 kilo sack of rice - and even smiling!!

Eljen and Tawie Mag-aso and their family received the bundles of joy at Umapad rubbish dump

Felicidad og hendes to børn bor på grøntsagstorvet. Det er her Felicidad sælger småting for at få penge til mad og børnene sidder og laver lektierne foran lastebilerne om aftenen, sådan at de får lys derfra.

Felicidad and her two children live at the vegetable market where they sell vegetables to make enough money for food. Since they don't have electricity, the children study in the evening by the light from the trucks that come into the market with fruits and vegetables.

A picture tells a thousand words! The happiness radiates from this family after they received their gifts.

Again this year, our kids, who have now turned into teens, did their puppet show again in institutions for handicapped and abandoned children.

Many groups contacted us as they wanted to give of their abundance to make Christmas special for the poor. Here is a team from the British Telecoms' Call Center in Cebu who brought food and gifts in the form of school materials for 300 children

The building of our Rise Above Community Center is progressing, and Timex Philippines moved in just before Christmas and started on the construction of the medical/dental clinic

Juliette is Marites' friend, and they studied together. Juliette was born with 1 1/2 leg, and had the crippled leg amputated so she could get an artificial leg and learn to walk. Because of poverty, the quality of the leg is very bad, and it gives her constant pain. Marites requested we help Juliette by fundraising for her to get a proper artificial leg. We have already raised US$ 900. A new leg costs between US$ 1050-1500. We would like to get her the best, so that she will not have to suffer anymore. Can you help?

Between Christmas and New Year, Flemming, Elisabet and their two children, Suzy (21) and Johnny (15) took a trip up to the north of the island to visit a livelihood project where they focus on goat raising. We wanted to share a photo of the beautiful scenery - all lush and green and very fertile. It rains 10 months out of the year (with lots of sunny days in between) causing everything to grow effortlessly. In the front, the farmer had just harvested sugarcane.

For the 11th Christmas in a row, Flemming and Elisabet have performed as Mr. and Mrs. Santa, bringing lots of cheer to the children. As you can see at the top of the page, they enjoyed making Christmas special, and are looking forward to do it again at the end of 2012 as well.

We are so happy to share the good news of our work and accomplishments with you. Thank you for your support and encouragement. You are always welcome to come and visit us. Just stay in touch, and we will look forward to seeing you again!

With love from

Rise Above Cebu Team

Christmas love gifts for poor families

December 24, 2011

As we have done for several years already, we have requested help from our friends, offering to bring their Christmas donation in the form of care packages out to poor families in Cebu. Loaded with rice and dry goods, the team set out to bring Christmas to families who are very poor and have no chance to make Christmas different from any other days of the year.

Suzy, Abigail, Einar, Marie and Aida - ready for the trip to share "bundles of joy" to the poor.

This is the family of one of our sponsor children (front). They have no water or electricity in their house. Being unemployed, he father gathers sand from the river to earn a little bit for their family. Receiving the care packages made a big difference for them.

Thank you Mars for helping us carry the heavy sacks of rice!

Peregrina is a single mother with 7 children. Some of her children receive sponsorship for education. They were so thankful for the Care packages they received. The sack of rice will carry them over the holidays and well into January.

Peregrina received training for the bag making program, and has become one of the best ones to weave the bags. Making bags is her only source of income, so she is working hard to earn for her family.

We want to express our gratitude to all of our friends who gave to help the poor families. We wish all of our friends a wonderful Christmas Celebration and a Happy New Year! God bless you!

Love from the Rise Above Team in Cebu


Fundraising for Juliette’s s artificial leg.

December 24, 2011

Fundraising for Juliette's s artificial leg.

Right-click on this safe link: and it will bring you to Vimeo. We only have a little bit more to go to raise the needed funds, so please help us to help this sweet young lady.

You can donate through our Paypal account. Just copy and paste this link onto your URL:


Alfonso Diaz receives an artificial eye

October 5, 2011

Blind on his right eye from the age of 1

When Alfonso was one year old, his right eye was hit by a barbecue stick. Right after the incident, the mother, together with Alfonso, went to a hospital in Cebu for an eye check-up. The surgeon who was examining the eye of Alfonso, asked the mother for a big amount of money, but because they were so poor, they couldn’t afford the operation. So nothing was done to the right eye of Alfonso with the result that the eyeball shriveled up.

Alfonso is one of the sponsor children and is a good student


When we decided to help Alfonso, the first step was to have him undergo a series of eye check-ups at Perpetual Succour Hospital. The attending Eye Specialist, told us that Alfonso needed an eye operation which the doctor termed as “CONJUNCTIVO PLASTY’, which was scheduled at Velez General  Hospital.

Alfonso at the eye doctor

The eye operation took 2 hours and right after the operation we were allowed to go home. The doctor prescribed an Eye Drop for Alfonso, to be dropped into the operated eye 4 times a day. A series of follow-up check –ups was being conducted just to make sure that the eye had no infection, or any complication that might occur in the eye which had been operated.

If the eye would remain in good condition, then after 5 weeks, the ARTIFICIAL EYE would be placed on the right eye of Alfonso Diaz Jr.

Choosing an eye that would suit Alfonso

Fitting the eye

Alfonso came to our office in Happy Valley to show us how changed he is. Here together with Jenny.

Alfonso was so thankful that he could get a new eye. It was sponsored by “Philippines in Mind” from Denmark. He wrote the following letter.

The letter in Alfonso's handwriting

It made a big difference in Alfonso’s life to get an eye. The cost of the operation and to get the eye fitted was way beyond what Alfonso’s family would ever be able to afford, so we at the Rise Above are very grateful that we could channel this donation to help a young person to get a better chance in his life.

Article written by Elisabet Hansen and

Aida Commendador, Social Worker with Rise Above Foundation