4Basra was founded in late 2006 following a visit to Vienna to meet with Dr Eva-Maria Hobiger, who runs a small charity called the Aladdin’s Magic Lamp Project.

John Reynolds, who founded 4Basra, is a freelance journalist.

For a short while 4Basra provided a small amount of  fundraising and other support to the Aladdin’s Magic Lamp Project. Some years later this evolved into a film-making project in 2011 aimed at raising awareness of Dr Hobiger’s work and the situation in relation to children’s health in southern Iraq.

4Basra initially supported the Basra Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Iraq by raising money for the direct purchase of medicines and other medical supplies, and also arranging for sick children from Basra to be treated in European hospitals.

All donations and support are and were very gratefully received.

Due to a decline in fundraising and difficulties in getting medicines into Iraq, this work by the Aladdin’s Magic Lamp Project came to an end in early 2011.

However, Dr Hobiger continues to work with an assistant in Basra, supported by donors and volunteers, in order to bring children from the region who need life-saving operations to Europe.

In 2012 outreach work by 4Basra helped to raise just under €4,000 (euros) to pay for Ali Rae, a young Iraqi boy, accompanied by a parent, to travel to Austria for an operation and help with his follow-up care.

But the health crisis in Iraq, especially regarding early infant health and cancer and Leukaemia in children, requires a systemic solution that needs to be supported and implemented by Iraqis themselves, but with broad international support.

With this in mind, and following a meeting with a prospective colleague based in the US, we had hoped to begin to mobilise a Campaign for Children’s Health in Iraq in 2013.

However, the prospective colleague in the US subsequently decided to focus on nurturing a link-up between a hospital and medical staff there and a hospital Baghdad, although they may look to work with Basra at a later date.

In the meantime, the 4Basra project has refocused its efforts on seeking strategic partners who can help Basra Children’s Cancer Hospital and Basra Maternity and Children’s Hospital in the area of capacity building (training and education).

Initial discussions were held with a teaching institution and a children’s hospital in the UK early this year (2013), but as of mid-2013 I am now working with strategic partners US NGO Preemptive Love Coalition and Iraqi-led NGO Living Light International.

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