THIS WEEK, Hope Hospital, which was crowdfunded by people from all over the world opened to treat the children of Aleppo.
It started with a campaign spearheaded by CanDo last December, the People’s Convoy, which was transported hospital equipment and supplies from Chelsea & Westminster Hospital to Turkey’s border with Syria; a journey covering over 2,600 miles by land, through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
Alongside partner organisations Across The Divide, Doctors Under Fire, Hand in Hand for Syria, Phoenix Foundation, The Syria Campaign, and UOSSM, CanDo raised £246,505 in just 14 days to rebuild the last children’s hospital that had been bombed out of action in Aleppo.
The campaign resonated with public figures, humanitarian organisations and the public globally and resulted in raising a staggering £246,505 (270% of the fundraising target) in just 14 days, which in addition to rebuilding the hospital, also provided enough funding for six months of running costs.
The convoy departed from Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London on December 17, 2016 to a buzz of media attention. The heavy goods vehicle carrying the hospital equipment and supplies drove over 2,600 miles passing through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, before crossing Turkey and finally reaching Turkey’s border with Syria on January 2, 2017.
With over 4,800 single donations mostly from the UK and USA, the People’s Convoy sent a strong message of solidarity to the Syrian doctors (the Independent Doctors Association) who were rebuilding this children’s hospital for the seventh time after the six previous buildings had been bombed out of action.
Inspired by the public display of generosity and solidarity the IDA decided to name the facility Hope Hospital.
Dr Hatem from The Independent Doctors Association (IDA) said: ‘After evacuating from Aleppo our hearts ached, because we had been building the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo for two years and then lost everything.’
He went on to say: ‘After we saw the People’s Convoy, something rebuilt within ourselves. The hope returned to me when I realised that there are people thinking about us and supporting us. It meant the world knew what we were doing inside Aleppo: serving the children, the civilians. So, we began working hard to build the new children’s hospital (Hope Hospital).’
CanDo’s Founder and CEO, Dr Rola Hallam also added ‘Hope Hospital’ is a clear victory for humanity. While it might seem like a small victory in the face of the continued adversity in Syria, it marks a significant milestone. From the thousands of supporters and the tens of organisations that endorsed the convoy, to the media supporters and the breath-taking resilience of the IDA team, the achievement is a celebration of the human spirit.’
The hospital will serve the Jarablus district (Northern Aleppo) community of 170,000, treating over 5,087 children each month – which is likely to grow as more communities become displaced from continued evacuations and news of the hospital spreads.