Rob in tune with plight of needy

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An Oamaru man is trying to help save the world, one song at a time.

Rob Greaney founded Health Songs International in 2005 and has recently been recording songs to send to the Philippines.

The songs are aimed at teaching people how to manage water safely after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

Mr Greaney said after he heard about the disaster, he banded together with Oamaru Hospital chief executive Robert Gonzales, and Waitaki Girls’ High School student Theanne Bulatao, to record songs for the Philippines.

The songs, which were produced in the Filipino language of Tagalog and in English, were sung by Theanne. Mr Gonzales helped with the translation and pronunciation.

Mr Greaney wrote and produced the songs, which were recorded at the Waiareka Weston Presbyterian Church.

They had recorded four songs so far and were hoping to make about four more.

Mr Greaney said the first thing he did when writing one of his songs was to gather correct information, as it was a matter of life or death.

He has partnered with a group called First Response Radio, which is broadcasting the songs in disaster areas within 72 hours.

After getting the travel bug in 1990, Mr Greaney went to Indonesia and Bangladesh, where he saw suffering beyond belief, he said.

He wanted to help in a practical way and started writing songs to provide life-saving information to people, Mr Greaney said.

He met people who lost infants to gastric problems in Indonesia. It would always take a huge toll on the community, he said.

“If we can prevent that grief and sorrow, that gets us out of bed in the morning.”

Mr Greaney hoped to start doing this work full time and should another disaster strike, he planned to pack his studio in a bag and do more work on the ground, he said.

He would ideally like to go wherever needed for about six weeks to record songs and set up a health songs group with local support, Mr Greaney said,

“The most important thing is to get a volume of information out.”

The organisation was funded solely on generosity and donations, Mr Greaney said.

Visit www.healthsongs.org for more information or to make a donation.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

LIFE SONGS: Rob Greaney has been writing songs to help save lives in the Philippines.