ABC journalist Matthew Bedford has written an article about our 2nd Shipping Container project. Click the link below to go straight to the article on ABC news.
We are collecting medical equipment that will be delivered to the Department of Health in Duhok, Kurdistan, Northern Iraq and be distributed through their hospitals in the Duhok Province.
The DOH hospitals provide medical service for all the Kurdish residents and the many thousands of refugees and IDPs living in the camps in the Duhok Province.
We are very grateful to the hospitals that are providing the equipment – Dubbo Private Hospital, Foster Private Hospital, Maitland Private Hospital and Toronto Private Hospital.
Funding is still required to cover the transport costs of the shipping container from Botany Bay, to Mersin, Turkey then overland into Duhok, Kurdistan, Northern Iraq.
If you are able to help out, simply click the DONATE button on this website.
Thank you for your support.
Operation Hope received 2,200 women’s health kits, from some of the NSW & Qld chapters of the International organisation “Days for Girls”, and included these kits in our shipping container project to Iraq. Following a fund-raising event during refugee week in June, $3777.00 was sent to the Lotus Flower to help support the start of the workshops.
These kits will be distributed in Women’s & Girls Health Workshops run by NGO “The Lotus Flower”. The participants in the 3 – 4 hour workshops are the traumatised women and girls who are either refugees or internally displaced women living in the massive tent camps in Kurdistan. A local Coordinator will oversee and train local women from the camps, who will present the workshops in their native language.
The presenters will each receive a salary which will bring financial stability and independence for them. Long term the workshops will continue using women’s health kits made by the women (often widows and/or recently released by ISIS) who work in “The Lotus Flower” sewing groups in the camps. These workshops and distribution of the kits provide a sustainable long term employment program for many women and give education, dignity and independence to many women and girls. Operation Hope is financially supporting the workshops. Thank you to those who have donated to this wonderful project.
Click below to listen to interview with Erica Henley, Founder and Chairwoman of Operation Hope Australia with SBS Kurdish (in english)
“I am a very ordinary woman who has been fortunate enough to be able to participate in some extraordinary projects. I live in Newcastle, I am married and have two adult sons.”
Sunday, May 12, 2019 – 15:33
11 min 13 sec
Erica Henley is an advocate for human rights, especially for those who have been internally displaced within their homeland or have had to flee their war torn country as asylum seekers or refugees.
She continually feels the call to help those who have experienced trauma and tragedy through war and genocide.
(Shopping at the markets at the camp to buy fabric for the women’s sewing groups)
“I love that I am in a position where I can actually help and make a small difference in the lives of these people who have suffered extreme trauma and tragedy.”
Ms Henley is a humanitarian volunteer – which means her volunteering work has included assisting teaching english in the camp schools, administration, fundraising and organising groups of volunteers.
(40ft shipping container sailed from Sydney in early December 2018)
Since 2016 she’s volunteered in Greece and Iraq in the camps for refugees and internally displaced people.
“The relationships and friendships that are built are just beautiful,” Ms. Henley told SBS Kurdish.
Ms. Henley is the founder and chairwoman of a not for profit organisation called Operation Hope Australia Ltd which was successfully registered in NSW in 2018 as a charity and a benevolent institution.
(Humanitarian volunteer teaching English in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq 2018)
“I reflect on what we have been able to achieve in the last three years as a tiny little charity, we are now registered and raised close to $100,000 in three years,” said Ms. Henley.
In March this year Erica Henley and her husband travelled to Kurdistan Region, Iraq to gain release of their 40ft shipping container filled with aid, out of customs in Kurdistan, transported into a camp then unpacked ready for distribution of the medical equipment to 12 hospitals in Syria and Kurdistan Region and aid to displaced people and refugees in seven camps in the Duhok province.
(Kim Henley sorting some of the medical equipment)
“I have led small teams of Australian volunteers to Greece in 2016, and Kurdistan Region, Iraq in 2017 & 2018. It is hard to try and imagine and come to terms with what these people have suffered,” Ms Henley said.
Our dear friend Cathy Kuipers passed away on 27 March, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia.
Cathy was one of the founding members of Operation Hope Australia and quickly jumped at the opportunity to volunteer in refugee camps in Greece in September 2016. She then joined us volunteering at the Hassan Sham U2 camp for internally displaced people near Mosul, Iraq in May, 2017. Cathy continued to be involved in the financial side of our activites up until the time of her death. We miss her enthusiasm, her jest for life and wicked sense of humour. Cathy had a real heart for refugees both in Australia and overseas.
Our sincere sympathy to her daughter Cara and family.
Your life was a blessing,
your memory a treasure,
you are loved beyond words
and missed beyond measure.
The team from Joint Help for Kurdistan has started distributing the humanitarian aid from the shipping container. The arrival of the container and its release for distribution coincided with the Kurdish New Year celebration of Newroz. Packages of toys, clothes and gifts were distributed to the most needy families so the parents would be able to give them to their children at Newroz.
Distribution to the needy at Baged Kandal Camps 1 & 2 continued today as more packs prepared by the Joint Help for Kurdistan crew were distributed. Thanks to Salih, Amina H Juno, Ahmed, Hamo, Aido, Saado, Heat Sdfa, Dr. Ahmed, Majid and Jalal.
It has been a huge job in preparing, cataloging, packing, weighing, shipping, getting it though the border, then customs clearance, but now to see the hard work going to those it was intended to help makes all the stress worthwhile.
And yes – the shipping did go over budget due to the delays at the border and at customs, so if you can help us cover some of the US$3,000 in extra costs, our projects for 2019 can start immediately.