In 1999, New Zealander, David Cowie, visited Eastern Samar in the Philippines and during a visit to a local hospital he came across a boy named Ruel. Ruel’s small, emaciated body lay on a simple steel bed in this under-staffed and under-resourced facility. His face was scarred by a double cleft lip and palate, causing serious difficulty in swallowing. With his tiny body wracked with viruses and infections, Ruel was near death.
With the help of locals, Ruel received the food supplements needed to sustain his life, whilst David raised the necessary funds for Ruel’s surgery. Ruel represents hundreds of thousands of forgotten and unwanted children suffering in isolated villages and towns in developing nations.
Ruel’s story was the founding of the Ruel Foundation and today the Ruel Foundation has helped thousands of children and their families throughout the South Pacific.
In 2006, Pauline Curtis-Smith started an orphanage and a home for malnourished children in Oriental Mindoro. This was extended to a second home on Romblon island in 2017.