In the dusty desert near Dohuk, Northern Iraq, an oasis for refugees has sprung from nowhere, starting in the unlikely form of a shipping container. The nearby refugee camp is home to over 1,000 families from ethnic minorities. These families have trekked through mountains to escape the horrors of genocidal violence. Nobody could be more in need of a place of peace, regeneration and healing, and our partners sought to help them build one.

We have worked with these partners since 2017 to ship medical goods to Northern Iraq for distribution to clinics and refugee families. People living with injuries and illnesses have received brand new wheelchairs and walkers. We have sent hospital beds that are expected to serve around 7,000 people a year. In total, the shipment allowed them to equip five different medical centres serving refugees and displaced people.

After one set of goods was unloaded, they asked themselves what to do with the container that brought them. “Instead of letting it go to waste in the desert of Iraq, or simply it for storage, we found a better purpose,” they said. Local staff worked to transform the container into a medical clinic with a pharmacy on one side and consulting room on the other (pictured below). The oasis had begun.

 

That oasis grew. Soon, their plans included a community garden in front of the clinic, and a soccer field where young people from the camp can play. Looking ahead, they are planning a fully equipped gym, which will help the entire centre to become a focal point for the refugee community. Their aim is that, through this oasis, they can help alleviate something of the tension which leads to youth depression and even suicide. “Our hope is that all who come and go through the refugee camp will not only find physical healing and recovery, but mental and emotional healing too,” they said. “After being forced to flee their homes, in the wake of ISIS, then having to cram into a refugee camp with thousands of other displaced families, these people are not willing to let their adversity win.”

 


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

For decades the people of Iraq have endured the devastating consequences of internal and regional conflict. Frequent instability, economic sanctions, and the displacement of people in both Iraq itself and neighbouring countries including Syria, have all hindered efforts to rebuild the country and maintain legitimate government. The cumulative effect of these difficulties has been great; access to education is generally poor, the availability of resources for refugees is limited, and healthcare facilities are often underequipped.

Crossroads has partnered with a group in Iraq working to improve health and employment opportunities for displaced people and stretched local communities. There was huge excitement when the forty foot container arrived in Iraq from Crossroads – so much so that a press conference was arranged to broadcast the news. The Director of the local Health Department showed his gratitude for the hospital beds, wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches and mattresses which arrived. Our partner NGO was very happy – a staff member said:

This shipment was so special in its medical equipment. We expect the hospital beds will help, on average, 7000 people per year.”

(Above 1st) The scene outside the hospital as much needed medical equipment is delivered. (Above 2nd) The director expresses his thanks in a press interview.

 

(Above) A walking frame can make all the difference in recovering from injury.

For many families and individuals even basic necessities such as clothing and bedding are hard to come by.  The shipment also contained items which were ideal for refugees and people in displacement camps. Sometimes there are unintended benefits of packing every corner of the container with goods, as boxes of clothing, shoes and houseware are used to keep loose items like crutches from moving around.

“Regarding the timing of the shipment was great as the heavy clothes helped a lot in the winter.”

The goods received in this shipment have been greatly appreciated by the beneficiaries who received them and have directly impacted many people’s lives. This is the impact which our partner NGO has identified:

  • An average of 7000 people will use the hospital beds per year.
  • 55 students monthly will benefit from the computer and projector in their caravan class room, part of their ‘tech over trauma’ program.
  • The clothes donation will cover 4 camps of refugees. As each camp has 300 families they are expecting to cover the needs of 2000 people.

RECEIVING AND USING THE DONATED GOODS FOR IMPROVED RECOVERY


CONTAINER-CLINIC BRINGS HEALTHCARE SERVICES TO REFUGEES

Our partners on the ground knew that the camp needed a health clinic, and realised that converting the container into a clinic and pharmacy would be an efficient and effective solution.

 They had the amazing idea to use your container as a camp clinic. It was remodeled and customised to fit a small clinic on one side, and a pharmacy on the other.

Photos show what a wonderful job they did in transforming the space and surrounding area into a healthcare centre that families could feel confident visiting, where they can access a level of care that would otherwise be very difficult.

(Above left) Staff work hard adding paneling and outer fittings to the container to make it suitable for its new purpose as a clinic. (Above right) Patients wait for consultation at the new clinic.

(Above left) Inside the clinic, where patients can be seen and treated in privacy and comfort. (Above right) One side of the container holds the clinic’s pharmacy.

We are so grateful to all involved in making this shipment possible, allowing us to come alongside hard-working partners in the field and invest strategically in their projects with this highly vulnerable population in Iraq.

Reference No. S4945A


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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