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 first shipping container project to Iraq. The kits arrived in March 2019 and following a fund-raising event during refugee week in June 2019, $3777.00 was sent to the Lotus Flower to help support the start of the workshops.
These kits are 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.
11 tonnes of equipment and aid has been unpacked from the shipping container and the distribution process has started. Approximately 12 hospitals in Kurdistan and Syria including Maternity hospitals, Dental clinics, Blood Banks, Emergency departments, Paediatric emergency, the Joint Help for Kurdistan medical clinic at Baged Kandala 2 camp and a Burns & Plastic Hospital will receive the medical equipment.
Refugees and Internally Displaced People from at least 7 camps in Kurdistan and Syria will be the recipients of the aid. Priority will be given to orphans, widows, women and children recently released from ISIS and the poorest families (not having any money to even pay the school fees to help educate their children). You can read about the distribution and view a couple of videos at the most recent blog post here.
2,199 x “Days for Girls” hygiene kits have been given to the NGO “The Lotus Flower”. Last year they ran two successful workshops in Rwanga refugee camp. All the kits will be distributed through womens health workshops at Rwanga camp and Essyan camps for internally displaced people and the Domiz camp for Syrian refugees.
Despite our best efforts to reduce the storage costs at the privately run customs facility and an appeal to the Assistant Governor for Duhok province, the extra fees, due to delayed processing incurred during the import of the container, amount to US$2,090 at customs and US$3,495 to the Turkish transport company.
Fortunately we had budgeted for some extra fees but have a shortfall of $A2939. We would really like to complete the shipping project without debt so that we can proceed to fund other projects for the refugees and IDPs in Kurdistan.
Could you help us with a donation?
via internet banking or personally at a Westpac Bank in Australia Account Name: Operation Hope Australia Ltd BSB: 034 087 Account Number: 045 791 SWIFT/IBAN Code: WPACAU2S or
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.