The Founding of EROVAAT
In 2016, his Excellency Dr Sen Sovann (Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the World Animal Health Cambodian delegate) asked Trish to devise a program for rabies elimination in Cambodia.
Upon invitation, she presented the rabies eradication to local veterinarians, the Cambodian Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations). From this, Trish was able to gain feedback and confirm that Eradicate Rabies One Village At A Time (EROVAAT) was viable and practical. On returning to New Zealand in 2020, she set up EROVAAT as a registered charity.
Trish (Patricia) Johansen
Founder / Board Member
Trish is a New Zealand veterinarian, keen surgeon, photographer and traveller.
Since graduating from Massey University, Trish has worked in New Zealand, the UK and Cambodia in private practice and alongside the Cambodian government and international NGO’s. She treasures the priceless experiences of travelling the world with her son from when he was a baby. He’s now twenty years old.
Trish is motivated to ‘pay forward’ knowledge and resources to improve vulnerable communities’ animal and human health and welfare. However, she feels strongly about providing this empowering, culturally respectful and locally sustainable way.
In 2014, she moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia, with a desire to help bridge the generational knowledge lost over the devastating Khmer Rouge occupation in the 1970s. Trish established a veterinary practice in Siem Reap (Siem Reap Veterinary Care) for the community. She also works with Cows for Cambodia, a poverty alleviation program and worked with APOPO looking after their landmine clearance rats until January 2020. During Trish’s five years living and working in Cambodia as a veterinarian, she worked closely with the local and central government, international agencies, and local communities. This helped her understand the local culture and issues facing Cambodia to best and sustainably use her knowledge and skills to enhance animal and human health and welfare.
In Cambodia, Trish was exposed first-hand to the horrors of rabies, a preventable disease. This ignited a desire to assist in eradicating rabies. She started EROVAAT to help eradicate rabies one village at a time and to spread rabies awareness.
Nik served for 23 years in the New Zealand diplomatic service with postings in Europe and the Pacific. He spent much of his time at the United Nations, where he was New Zealand’s Deputy Permanent Representative from 2004-2008 and Deputy Director for the UN at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Wellington.
He also served as Deputy Director for the Asia Regional Division and in that capacity spent time in Asia, including in Cambodia. Nik is passionate about environmental protection, sustainable development and stewardship of our rich world of flora and fauna. In joining EROVAAT Nik aims to make a difference to the quality of life for villages in Cambodia including for the animals that live with the Cambodian people.
Dr Jnanee Krishnasamy graduated with a veterinary science degree from Massey University. She has a background in small animal clinical practice. Dr Jnanee was born and bred in rabies-free Singapore, and first learned about rabies during a lecture in veterinary school.
After learning about the devastating effects of rabies and how it is a disease of poverty, Dr Jnanee resolved to use her education and training to help with rabies eradication efforts. She began volunteering with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) shortly after graduating, and continues to do so.
With over 20 years’ experience as a chartered accountant, Kevin Bone has a wealth of knowledge help his clients excel.
With involvement in the building industry, Kevin brings detailed insight to construction and property management/investment. Kevin has also been working alongside clients in the hospitality and tourism industries to navigate difficult times.
Outside of the office, Kevin enjoys boating, building projects, and spending time with family and friends.
Martin Hawes writes and speaks on personal finance. He has written over 20 books and has written columns for a number of major New Zealand publications.
He has also held a range of governance positions which ranged from commercial organisations to Not for Profits. Martin has long been passionate about international development issues and was the Chair/President of save the Children NZ. Before leaving Queenstown to live in Christchurch, Martin was the Chair of the the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust. Martin currently chairs the Summer KiwiSaver Investment Committee.
Charlotte currently runs her own businesses in Queenstown NZ and is a former UN employee. She has travelled and worked globally, including running workshops in Cambodia. During her time in the UN she developed and facilitated global learning programmes for the World Health Organisation. Workshops included global learning programmes on compliance with the Paris Declaration for Aid effectiveness, and National Health Policy, Strategy and Plans.
She conducted business process analyses and wrote a UNHCR handbook for the protection of women and girls. She is skilled in training needs analysis, instructional design, process mapping, structured documentation development and facilitation. She is currently starting up an impact enterprise “Rangi Nui Rabbits”, aimed at helping with pest control and providing eco jobs in Queenstown.
Andy is the Technical Manager of Fonterra’s On-Farm Research and Development programme focusing on research supporting safe and sustainable farm systems and pr actices. Prior to joining Fonterra was Head of Operations managing 29 farms and a team of around 200 people.
Andy’s career started in dairy veterinary practice in New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East before moving into the veterinary medicines industry in technical and management roles, during this time Andy developed a special interest in vet pharmaceuticals, especially antimicrobials, and he has served terms as President and Chief Examiner for the Pharmacology Chapter of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California, USA, but traveled to the US Navy Base in Sasebo, Japan, for a one-year leave of absence from my California school. 43 years later I retired from that school in Japan! As most of my life had been spent in Asia and a Japanese visa was difficult for me to get, I came on vacation to Cambodia, spent 10 days touring, and felt that I really needed to come back here.
I joined the RSVP (Rural Schools Village Project) group under the CSHD (Cambodian Self Help Project). While CSHD deals with clearing landmines and other not-yet-exploded devices left over during the international and domestic disagreements in Cambodia, RSVP puts in schools in Middle-of-Nowhere, Cambodia, where these explosives have been cleared and it is safe for kids to go to school. While we have nothing to do with curriculum or hiring teachers, we provide materials to build the buildings (24 so far) and supplies for the 3000 students for their school year.
Three years ago Zippo came into my life. I took him to Dr. Trish’s clinic for his first round of shots (and ball snatching) and thus, became friends with Trish.
Over time we discussed what we were both doing here in this foreign land. That is when Trish started laying out her dream for a successful “Get-Rid-Of-Rabies” plan which has now developed into EROVAAT. It was exciting to talk things over with her, interjecting ideas, letting her know what I was hearing her saying and developing a most incredible plan and worthwhile goal.
My name is Pauline Copland and I have been an English Language educator for over 20 years. I have travelled and taught overseas and in the last decade have taught and run my own language college in Queenstown New Zealand. More recently I have taken up a role in People and Capability management with SIlver Fern Farms.
I am passionate about education and am always inspired by the transformation that can occur when people are open to new experiences and learning. Education across borders and cultures has always been a motivating factor in my career. I very much look forward to being involved with the eradication of rabies project and the difference it will make in many people’s lives.
Toni Anns is a NZ qualified veterinarian with over 30 years experience in companion animal veterinary practice. Toni currently works for an animal health company in NZ, which includes education on wellness and vaccination of companion animals.
Toni is also passionate about people and the wonderful bond formed between people and animals. Animals can bring us closer and provide comfort, support and happiness. Everyone should have a companion animal in their life somewhere!
Bill Morse and Jill Downing met in 1967. Bill was a sophomore in college and Jill was a junior in high school. They married in August of 1969. Bill received his degree from TCU and was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the US Army.
Bill served in the US Army, taught school, and ran his own business from 1980 to 2007 when he shut it down so he and Jill could concentrate on clearing landmines in Cambodia. Jill received her degree in history and primary education from UCI in 1981.
They lived in Texas, Georgia, California, Massachusetts and traveled the world. They finally settled in Palm Springs, California and lived there for over 20 years.
In 2003 they heard of an ex-Khmer Rouge soldier, Aki Ra, whose quixotic mission was clearing landmines by hand. Bill and Jill traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia to find him and learn more about his work. After they met him, they returned to the US and started the Landmine Relief Fund, a 501c3 charity to help support Aki Ra’s work.
In 2006 Aki Ra was ordered to cease his unauthorized, guerilla demining. Aki Ra asked Bill to assist him in establishing a new, all-Cambodian NGO (non-governmental organization) to help clear some of the millions of landmines and unexploded bombs that still litter the country and have wounded 1 in every 250 citizens. They thought it would take 3 months. Bill stayed for nearly 2 years.
Cambodian Self Help Demining, CSHD, became certified in 2008. Bill closed his business to concentrate on their new work in Cambodia. In 2009 Bill and Jill moved there to continue the work they find so rewarding. To date their work has funded the clearance of over 200 minefields. They helped establish a second NGO, Rural Schools Support Organization, RSSO, that has built 24 primary schools, for over 3,000 kids, distributed over 250 tons of food during Covid. RSSO is now establishing an organic, community garden program with greenhouses, organic gardens and aqua ponds to provide new sources of income for those in need.
We live in small world, a community. An old American politician, Tip O’Neill, once said, ‘all politics are local. I would add to that: “all problems are local”. Only by working together, in harmony can we make this a better place for posterity.
None of this is done alone.
In 2009 Muz emigrated to Beijing, China to became the first foreign director in China Central Television. He today operates and runs Stride Education Media in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, working with NGO and corporate clients. An enthused linguist, Muz is fluent in Spanish and Chinese, and is currently an avid Khmer language student
Lady Helen Wilkins
Borne and grew up in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Worked in radio and television in both New Zealand and Australia, travelled to Africa to see animals in the wild: South Africa, Kenya, Botswana. Helped raise funds for WWF. Lived in England for 30 years part of which I worked for the International Chamber of Commerce, various charities and was married to Sir Graham Wilkins. Now living in Queenstown near my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
Dr. Laura O’Sullivan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to practice small animal medicine. In 2018 she visited Siem Reap Veterinary Care and spent time with Dr Trish Johansen on a whim, wanting to give back on a larger scale. The trip inspired her to pursue a Master of Public Health, which she finished at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2020.
She has remained in clinical practice but now also holds a position as Education Instructor at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. She loves teaching clients, fellow veterinarians, other professionals, and any one who will listen about One Health, the concept that the health of humans, animals, and the environment is all related. She is particularly interested in rabies control and antimicrobial resistance.
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