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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

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 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)


February 6, 2012

Cooking for 508 children at Sapangdaku elementary school 

On Wednesday January 25th, my daughter Hanna (5 yr) and I were fortunate to join the Rise Above team for their weekly Food Program.  We were a group of eight who headed up to the mountains to make food for children at the local school. To get there we had to walk down a steep path and cross a river. Hanna thought it was fun to balance across the river on the stones.

Hanna took the lead across the river

When we arrived, the children were having a break. They were curious to see the new visitors. With few tools we started to prepare to cut the vegetables for the lugaw (a soup/porridge).

Eva with a friend, both from Germany, and Debora from the USA

Ricarda, Ian, Hanna and I

Hanna used her small fingers to string the beans. As we were working, children would gather around us to look.  In the background, a big pot of water was boiling over the fire. Later Hanna would stir the vegetables. She thought that the pot looked like the ones in the fairytales. When the food was finished, it was divided into buckets. Each classroom received one bucket.

Hanna watching over the big pot

While waiting for lunch break, Hanna would peak into the classrooms. If we had stayed longer, I know that she would have started playing with the other children.

Hanna peaking into the classroom

Some of the many smiling children

Ian, from New Zealand, giving out the food

I am glad that I was given the opportunity to show my daughter how other people live; that there are many different sides to life; and that others are not as fortunate as we are.  Although she is still too young to understand the full extent, she is aware of it. I think that it is amazing that volunteers around the world, this time representing New Zealand, Germany, USA, France, Philippines and Norway, come together and make a difference.

Making a difference

Written by: Kathrine Canillo (a Norwegian in Cebu)


November 21, 2011

Progress is being made. A group of Canadians from Developing World Connections worked with us for 10 days, and in that time, the rest of the wall around the property was done. We appreciate all your hard work and support for the center.

Kenny putting his all into building the wall. Thanks Kenny!

At the same time, the construction workers that were laying the roof, worked long hours to get it done.

They way they build houses here is quite different than what we are used to in the West. Normally, they have a scaffold where long bamboos are tied together with rope. At least here they're using an iron scaffold, but still it looks a bit dangerous, doesn't it?

The roof is on!

The people who are working there are volunteers from Cebu, who asked if they could please come and make food for the children in the slums next to our center. They cooked for 300 children! We always welcome people who would like to give to help the less fortunate.

One of the boys from the slums together with Mars and Johnny worked on spreading out the truckloads of lime stone that was brought there to level the ground.

Right: Gabriel Tangalin who is the coordinator at the building site together with Sherwin and collegue from Timex Philippines. Timex are sponsoring the building of the dental- and medical clinic.

Stay tuned for more news from Rise Above Foundation in Cebu.






The Key to “Boost” Your Blessings

May 4, 2011

Written By: Susanne Mae De La Cruz

Mothers need a good break sometimes. After taking care of the children and her spouse and doing all the chores in the house, it would be good for them to get relaxed and regain their strength after the tough day. And “Boost” is just the right program for these mothers.

The “Boost” program is a time when all the mothers of the sponsored kids and of the livelihood program gather together. During this time, Abigail with her company discusses real life experiences and share things and insights from the Bible that would encourage and strengthen the faith of these mothers. This program is regularly done every Friday of the week but due to all the renovations and arrangement in the Family Care Center, there has been some adjustments done on the schedule.

Abi plays the guitar as the mother who joined the boost program sing along with the music.

Last Tuesday, April 26, 2011, Abi, together with Crystal and Shane, went to the Family Care Center for the Boost program. There has been singing, reading and sharing among the mothers. Abi played the guitar and Crystal backs up in singing. That was a good, fun day for the mothers. But the most important part is when the mothers get encouraged by the Word of God which was delivered by Abi.

Abi holds up the guitar as she posed for a picture with the mothers during the boost program on Tuesday.

Abi discussed about the life after this current state that we are in. She discussed about the love of God and how we are privileged to have an eternal life – a life without suffering and death. And through this hope that we have in God and the life after death, we will not be shaken of our present sufferings and needs. She let the mothers realize that by looking at what is about to come, then there will be a change on how they look at things right now and how they deal with trials and challenges. Through these words that Abi has shared, the mothers now have strength to face another challenge with a new perspective – which is that “all things work together for good and not one thing was made for destruction but for the fulfillment of God’s plan for them”. With this hope, the mothers will look at their problems not as an obstacle but a challenge to make them stronger and ready just as God wants them to be.

While Abi discusses Shane interprets it for the mothers. Some of the workers in renovating the center also joined the gathering.

Through the Boost program, God has been introduced and the gospel of eternal life has been shared to these mothers. More than helping them earn a living and send their kids to school, the Rise Above Foundation is also giving them the spiritual blessings on their lives; blessings that money cannot exceed, because if they know Jesus, then they know the key to a successful life. Jesus once said “if you ask for anything in My Name, I will do it.” The key to a blessed life is by knowing Jesus and letting Him into our heart, for with Him and through Him all things were made. God owns everything.

If you want to have some words of encouragement and help us in our mission of sharing the Word of God and the hope in Christ Jesus contact us at or call us at +63 32 255 1063. Together we can make a difference!

Susanne Mae De La Cruz is an intern with Rise Above from the University of the Philippines

Distribution of Soccer Uniforms

April 29, 2011

Written By: Susanne Mae De La Cruz

To prepare for their football training, the young boys from the Cebu City Operation Second Chance Center (CCOSCC) received 28 soccer uniforms from the Rise Above Foundation on April 15, 2011. These uniforms were sent by a sponsor from Canada through Developing World Connections.

Abigail, Crystal, Jenny, Line and Shane presented the soccer uniforms to the house parents - the ones in daily contact with the boys

With Abigail, Jenny and Crystal, Lina one of the Danish interns, distributed the soccer uniforms to the young people in the center. These uniforms are to be used by the boys as they start their football training that the Danish interns along with the center’s House Parents are planning to hold this summer.

Edgar Cuadero, one of the center’s House Parents, shared that they are in the process of forming an outline on how they can start this training in coordination with the Danish interns. The interns will then be the coaches and the boys in the center will be their team members.

Jenny, Crystal and Abi handing out the soccer uniforms to some of the boys.

“Nakahelp ang Rise Above ug ang mga interns in a way, kay na busy na ang mga batan on ug nakakat on sad sila’g interact sa mga tawo (The Rise Above and the interns have helped in a way that they keep these young people busy with their activities and the young people are learning how to interact with other people),” said Edgar Cuadero.

Rise Above Foundation has been reaching out to the young people inside the center through sending out interns who will interact and play with the young boys who are inside the center. It also has given sports materials to the center and they were also some of the beneficiaries of the dental mission last February, 2011.

Interns are oriented before they are assigned to different areas.

“Tungod sa mga interns nga muari diri, nakafeel ang mga batan on nga importante sila,kay kasagaran ani nila basta naa sa prisohan maghuna-huna nga gikahadlukan sila sa mga tawo sa gawas (Because of the interns who are visiting the center, the young people inside can feel that they are important. Most of these young people are used to thinking that they are feared by the people outside and they are not given any importance because they are imprisoned),” Edgar added.

The CCOSCC is a rehabilitation center for the juvenile delinquents or minors who have conflict with the law. As for the present, they have a total of 165 young people inside; 60 percent are from Cebu City and the remaining 40 percent are from Cebu province.

Abigail and Crystal on their way home after giving out the soccer uniforms.

Simple encouragement can help other people feel important. As Jesus stated, “… when I was in prison, you visited me… for what you’ve done to the least of your brethren, you have done unto Me.”

You can also help with sports equipment and uniforms, which we would distribute to needy children. Contact us at or call us at +63 32 255 1063.

Susanne Mae De La Cruz is an intern with Rise Above from the University of the Philippines