Ruel Foundation
Making a better life for our kids
Ruel House
Life Changing
medical aid to children in need
* Phillippines
* Vanuatu
* Fiji
Crisis Center
Emergency medical treatment
* Malnourished Children
* Disaster Relief

Kindness can transform someone's dark moment with a blaze of light. You'll never know how much your caring matters. - Amy Leigh Mercree

Our Mission is to love heal cure children in desperate need.

item Children in need
item + You
item + Ruel
= Something Special

Our Story



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.

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Over 40 kids flash their new smiles in Philippines

It has been a busy month for Ruel Foundation Give a Smile with surgery outreaches complete; one in Philippines and one in Fiji. You have been a big part in seeing over 40 kids with new smiles and it would not be possible with your support. Behind the scenes these outreaches take us far and wide to find the children who need help. Each outreach starts several months before it happens and involves meetings with governors, mayors and hospitals in the regions. We put the word out on the radio, on banners and use a combination of our database and visiting health centers to make sure these surgeries available to as many children as possible. 

The day of the operations is, as our Philippines National Director Pauline Curtis-Smith says, "wonderful chaos!" It is full on with rechecking every child, admitting them and having them in the right place at the right times. There's often a shortage of beds in the hospital so working out how to fit everyone in makes for tricky work. This time around we had 42 children in the Philippines walk out with new smiles. Operations run over two days with everyone onboard until 10pm at night, then up again at 6am. 

As well as their new smile, the children walk out with a soft toy and bible; the surgical wound is cleaned throughly and parents are given instructions on how to care for it and when to return for suture removal. But, it doesn't end there. Most of the children need a second or third operation so are kept in our database to follow up with. 

All the 42 children from the end of March outreach are recovering well with no infections and great results. Christopher was one of the children, his mother told us she had seen the banner up advertising the surgeries and wanted to bring her son but sadly was unable to afford the transport - a p50 (US$1) cost.

When he arrived at school on the day he was meant to have his pre check his teacher asked why he was at school and not at the check. Christopher told her that his mum had a baby and no money. Amazingly, his teacher decided to bring him herself so with his mom’s permission she not only brought him to the pre check, but to the operation itself and the post operation check. The results of the operation were so amazing all the teachers began to cry when Christopher showed them his new smile. 

But there's more work to do! We have another outreach coming up in July and November. We will keep you updated with the details of these as we move into the year and would love any support you are able to provide. 

Thank YOU once again for your support to make this happen! 

If you want to get involved, click here to donate or click here to sponsor a child. 




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10-year-old raises funds for sponsor child

We often hear about the beautiful children we have who need sponsorship, but we wanted to share a few stories on the people who sponsor them. Hugo Corin is a pretty special 10-year-old boy from Tauranga, New Zealand who is sponsoring Jhon Loue, a 9-year-old boy from Romblon. Hugo supports Jhon Loue himself by doing extra chores around the house, washing people's cars and holding fundraising evenings to help aid operations as well. We had a chat with Hugo about what inspired him to come onboard and sponsor a child.


"At the end of last year, I was performing in a fundraising concert for Ruel Foundation Give a Smile, and I watched a video about what Ruel Give a Smile does. I saw a table with information about children to sponsor, and one of them was a boy my age, who liked playing outside just like me. I kept coming back to the table because something in my brain said that I had to do something. So I took his information home with me and talked to mum and Dad to see if I could sponsor him.


"I thought to myself 'I have so much in my life' and it doesn't take much to help someone else. Only forty dollars a month. I also found out about Ruel Foundation Give a Smile surgeries and found out how important it is for the kids to have the cleft palate surgery. Last month my school (Bethlehem College) held a mufti day to raise money for Ruel. I got to speak at the secondary school assembly about sponsorship. I hope some people want to sponsor some children now. I think I realise how much I have got in my life, and I sometimes forget that. Having a sponsor child makes me remember that I can help someone else. It also makes me feel sad sometimes that some children have very hard lives."


Inspired to raise money not just for his sponsor child but also so more children could have cleft lip and palate surgeries in the Philippines, Hugo held a fundraiser where he dressed up as a waiter and held a swishing party.


"I wanted to raise enough money for a cleft palate surgery, so Mum and I thought that we could have a fundraiser. I wanted people to know about Ruel Foundation Give a Smile, so we came up with the idea of inviting people to our house, telling them about Ruel and I would be the waiter! We had a 'Swishing Party' that means everyone who came brought some clothes that they don't wear anymore, but still look nice and people could try on the clothes and swap them if they wanted to. Everyone paid for a ticket for the night and we watched a video about Ruel. I handed around the food and drinks and told everyone about why I sponsor a child. I think people were inspired by the video because we raised enough for two palate surgeries! I want to do another one soon.


"I think most kids could sponsor a child. It is fourty dollars a month and you can do some extra jobs to get the money. It makes me remember that I have so many things and some people don't even have a mum or dad or are very sick. It doesn't take much to make a very big difference in someone's life. It is also good to learn about the different places the children come from. A cleft palate surgery can save a baby's life!"


If you are thinking of sponsoring a child, we would love you to get in touch. Email Eunice on or visit:


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