There has been significant progress in filling the 40ft Container with Medical equipment and Women’s Health kits. We hope to have the container on the sea in July heading to Kurdistan. The medical equipment will be distributed throughout hospitals in the Duhok province. The equipment will assist Kurdish residents, Syrian Refugees and Yazidi Displaced people seeking surgery or treatment. The Women’s Health kits will be distributed to women and girls in 3 Refugee Camps by NGO The Lotus Flower. See contents list of shipping container at the end of this report.
We need your help with financial donations:
Due to COVID restrictions our fundraising opportunities have significantly declined.
Can you help by making a donation to assist in the shipping costs to get the equipment and health kits into Kurdistan?
Donations can be made as follows:
Go to the home page of this website and click the DONATE button
Make a deposit online or at any Westpac Bank as follows: Account Name: Operation Hope Australia Ltd BSB number : 034 087 Account Number: 04 5791
Make a deposit from overseas using IBAN SWIFT Code: WPACAU2S for Westpac Banking Corporation, Sherwood Branch, Queensland.
Donations are tax deductible
Contents of shipping container include:
3 x Hospital Beds
2 x Theatre microscopes
2 x I Beds for Theatre Patients
1 x Baby hospital crib
1 x Infant intensive care unit
1 x transportable humidicrib
1 x physiotherapy unit to assist in Orthopaedic surgery
5 x anaesthetic machines
wheelchairs – both for infant and adults and 1 electric
56 x Intravenous Pumps with hundreds of consumables
1 x ECG
6 x Patient monitors
Standup Patient mover
8 x Video Otoscopes
1 x Oxygen Concentrator
2 x Display monitors for theatre
1 x emergency ventilator
1 x Tourniquet inflater and cuffs
single use Resuscitator sets
walking and mobility aides
2,745 x Women’s Hygiene kits for disribution in an education program in 3 refugee camps
Medical books and journals for the College of Medicine in Mosul
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.”
Mayada Kordy Khalil
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.
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.
Each day we start off knowing that the day will hold new experiences, meet new friends and are amazed by the beautiful resilient Ezidi people.
Barbara Bluett is an absolute magnet for Yazidi’s of all ages…….she lives in Toowoomba, Australia’s largest Yazidi community. Barbara has been leading and assisting in English classes. Barbara and Wafaa Tanious, went to a little village for a women’s health workshop yesterday and is making connections between her Toowoomba friends and their relatives in the camps here. She has met numerous Yazidi’s here who are heading to Toowoomba so has been able to welcome them to Australia and promise to meet them once they arrive in Toowoomba. She managed to find and meet up with an elderly Yazidi lady who is heading out to Toowoomba…the beginning of a long term friendship. No task is too big for petite Barbara and she is an absolute ball of energy and enthusiasm.