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.
It has taken a long 13 months. Starting with a generous donation of money, then the offer of a steriliser and neo-natal resuscitation unit from Narribri hospital, in New South Wales, which fitted into a 6×4 trailer, the project has grown to encompass over 9 tonnes of medical equipment and humanitarian aid, and a 40 ft shipping container.
The last month has been the longest. Shipping began with transfer of the container to Port Botany in Sydney from the warehouse in Newcastle, then the generous donation of the shipping cost took it to Mersin, in Turkey. Overland transport to the Kurdish Iraq border where it stopped for 3 weeks waiting for clearance to enter Iraq. Then to a customs warehouse for inspection of the contents, so the container was emptied, and more paperwork was prepared for customs clearance. Several errors meant this had to be repeated twice, with delays each time. And still, the container was not released.
We arrived here 3 days ago to be told there were not 6 Infant Incubators, but 9 of them, so three were not listed. On the second visit to the customs centre we found this was NOT the case, but the problem was with 3 incorrect serial numbers on the incubators … then the first one we inspected had the correct serial number !! The next 2 were wrong – my mistake: I remember writing them down one night when they were in the garage without my glasses. Lesson: wear you glasses!
We have had immense assistance from a range of people to help solve the import problems. Majeed Shukrey and Alan Diyar has been totally committed to getting the container through. Alan has shuttled us around Duhok, translated at customs and took us to Erbil to have a 5 minute meeting with the head of the Kurdistan Medical Control Agency to fix the problem with the serial numbers. The Turkish truck driver has been away from his family for nearly 5 weeks.
It was released from customs on Sunday 3 March at 5pm and an hour later it arrived at Bajed Kandala Camp 2 and we could finally record it arriving as night fell.
Zahra is 7 years old and lives with her mother and brother in the Khazir camp 25 kms east of Mosul. Zahra cannot hear, is not responding verbally and is becoming withdrawn which is impacting her education. She has been referred to Erbil twice and each time the doctor has said that she requires a hearing aid.
Zahra’s father left the family and is living in Mosul and will not support the family. Her mother has no income and is unable to pay for the hearing aid. Additionally, Zahra’s brother has been injured and requires leg surgery. I will post a separate blog about her brother once we know more details and cost of his surgery.
The cost of the hearing aid will be a one off cost. A cheap hearing aid will cost USD350 although it would be fantastic to purchase a good hearing aid but the cost is USD2200. Please help to restore the gift of hearing to Zahra by donating towards a hearing aid.
Thank you for taking the time to read Zahra’s story.
A young mother with one child and 8 months pregnant with her second child was in need of medication prescribed by the doctor in the medical clinic in Khazir camp.
Due to generous donations to Operation Hope, Darya, our team member in Erbil, purchased the 10 injections for this mother costing USD70.
Darya, will oversee the care of this mother as well as during and after the birth of her second child. Tragically, this mother is in an abusive relationship but we will do all we can to make sure she and her children are safe and have all they need. Darya will take me to meet this mother, her child and new baby when I travel to Iraq in March. I will take special items for each of them when I visit.
Please donate if you would like to help fund special items for this mother, child and her new baby. I would like to purchase personal items for the mother including a dress and toiletries, a game or toy for the young child and baby clothes for the new baby. Other items would be nappies, fresh fruit and any medications they require.
The NGO ADRA have delivered a winterisation pack and food to Ali and his family. Still upholding this family in prayer as they continue to struggle with impoverished living conditions and Ali’s declining health.
Update Wednesday 10 January 2018:
After much prayer and consultation with Ali’s doctor, through our friend Darya Mustafa, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to cease financial support for medical treatment and surgery for Ali. Ali is home and has deteriorated to the point where his condition is critical and proceeding with 29 injections will not sustain his life nor mean that he will be medically fit to undergo leg surgery. I have organised for two non government organisations to provide food, warm clothing and blankets and fuel to heat the families small apartment. Darya will continue in his case manager role for this family. All the funds donated to the ‘Appeal for Ali’ will be diverted to other medical cases…..please read the new blogs. Please join us in praying for Ali and his family.
Saturday 6 January, 2018
Ali is a 13 year old kurdish boy living in Erbil with his widowed mother and 3 siblings.
Ali has bone cancer and requires a further 29 injections before he can undergo leg surgery to enable him to walk again. In the last month Ali has been a patient in a hospital in Erbil and has received 7 injections that cost USD55 or $A75 each.
Sadly, Ali was discharged from the hospital because Operation Hope had no way of sustaining the level of funding for the 29 remaining injections and leg surgery costing USD3,500.
Ali has returned to his home. His widowed mother has no income to provide heating, food and rent, so their future is very precarious. Ali’s immune system is severely compromised in this situation and he urgently requires the remaining injections and surgery.
After launching a special ‘Appeal for Ali’ we have received sufficient donations to fund 18 injections. Unfortunately these injections cannot recommence until funding for all 29 injections are made. Ali requires a strict regime of injections – 4 injections every second day and 2 injections on the other days.
Following the injection treatment Ali will need leg surgery costing USD3,500 or approximately $A4,600.