Operation Hope volunteers will visit Kurdistan in September/October 2018


Operation Hope 2018 Volunteers

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Left to right:  Wafaa (Hervey Bay, QLD),  Simon (Brisbane, QLD),   Erica (Newcastle, NSW), Leanne (Brisbane, QLD).

Not pictured :  Alison (Barraganyatti, NSW), Barbara (Toowoomba, QLD), James (UK), Abdul and Hanaa (Newcastle, NSW)

Our second trip to Northern Iraq has come at a time when the long term future of the ADRA/Adventisthelp emergency field hospital in the Hassan Sham U2 camp is unknown. We are thankful that with the rebuilding projects occurring in Mosul that families in all three of the camps located near Mosul will be able to return and rebuilt their lives.  We are also thankful that we could play a part in the funding of the hospital and an office for mental health care.  In May 2017,  five Operation Hope volunteers had the privilege to work in the Hassan Sham U2 camp with the people who had recently fled from Mosul.

Leanne and I have been feeling the call to specifically help the Yazidi people in Northern Iraq. Over the past few months we have taken the opportunity to communicate with advocates here and in Northern Iraq to help us understand the history, current situation and possible assistance we can give the Yazidi people. The Yazidi are a Kurdish ethnographic-religious community who were targeted in 2014 by ISIS.  They were forced to flee  and are unable to return to their villages which still lie in ruins.

In the past month, we have been able to offer our 40ft shipping container and contents to the people at the Bajed Kandala camp – which houses 11,500 Yazidi people – mainly children and young people. The camp is located in the NW region of Kurdistan close to the Syrian and Turkish borders. The Bajed Kandala Refugee Camp was established in August/September 2014 following the ISIS invasion and genocide of the Yazidi people in this area.  The shipping container (hopefully setting sail in September( will be delivered adjacent to the medical clinic in this camp and the contents distributed to the residents, the medical centre, two nearby hospitals and a heart clinic.  Surgical instruments have been specifically requested for the medical centre in Bajed Kandala Camp and also a camp in Rojava, Syria which houses Yazidi people who recently fled Afrin.

We have received an invitation to volunteer as humanitarian volunteers at the Bajed Kandala Camp – 40 minutes drive NW from the large city of Duhok in Kurdistan. Predominantly we will help with English classes and activities with the school children. Simon will be able to offer his help if there are any cupboards, benches or tables etc to be constructed.  We are in the process of raising funds to take with us to make purchases in Kurdistan –  sewing machines for the new sewing group, timber for small construction projects, education resources like books etc.

Attached is a fact sheet – although dated September 2015 the profile remains very similar.

reach_irq_factsheet_bajedkandala_idp_camp_profile_september2015

We will be teaming up with the Non Government Organisation “Joint Help for Kurdistan” who run a medical clinic managed by Dr Nemam Ghafouri who is a Swedish heart surgeon and founder and spokeswoman for JHFK.  Dr Nemam is well known and respected throughout Kurdistan and Iraq in her advocacy for her Yazidi people.

Attached is a document about Joint Help for Kurdistan and their projects:

Joint help for Kurdistan document

We are excited to work with Dr Nemam and see the existing projects we might be able to support and to explore opportunities for new projects both in the refugee camp and in the wider community.

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