Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Basra needs your help

Friday, August 10th, 2007

The situation in Iraq has been worsening over the past few months.

A colleague of one of the doctors working in the children’s hospital in Basra was recently found dead in a rubbish dump, her body cut into pieces.

One important ward of the chilren’s hospital will close if my colleague in Vienna cannot help, and I hope to make a contribution to her fundraising efforts.

The next medical consignment is due to be shipped in October or November, so I’d like to try to raise some funds to contribute to that.

Oxfam recently published a report on the humanitarian situation in Iraq and I plan to contact them along with a number other people who might be able to help.

I’ve neglected to do any more on this due to pressure of other work and the Irish elections, which meant some of the people I was planning to contact were very busy.  

The initial fundraising target will be €5,000, but I hope to raise the bar as we go along.

I’ll organise things and contact people when I have the time, but other than that, it’ll be emails, calls and drinks if necessary to see who I can cajole into helping.

If you’ve got an idea for a quiz, an event, a whip-round or some other event, I’ll help when and where I can.

I hope some of you will get in touch.

Do Iraqi Terrorists Have Internet Access?

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Last week I learned of the sad news of a well-known female gynaecologist in Basra. 

Dr Youssra Hashem was killed on her way to work, shortly as she left her home.

Read more on the subject in my piece for Village magazine.


BBC Radio 4 Today in Basra

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Journalist John Humphrys reported from Basra this week for the influential BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Listen to the ‘Reconstruction and Corruption’ report as he speaks to the Director of one of the city’s hospitals and describes the conditions there.

Ashoka Ireland Interview

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

This afternoon I had a telephone interview with Paul O’Hara of Ashoka Ireland.

Although I have not made the shortlist for the Ashoka Ireland fellowship, it was a pleasure to describe the short history of the 4Basra project and enlighten Paul as to the direction I hope it will take. 

The interview was by no means a waste of time; quite the opposite in fact. Paul was kind enough to suggest how I might find a mentor.

What are the qualities needed in a suitable mentor?

This should be someone entrepreneurial who has startup experience – which doesn’t necessarily have to be in the non-profit sector.

They need to have encountered similar issues and problems to those I will face.

And the mentoring process shouldn’t be time consuming for either one of us. Paul, for example mentioned that he arranged to meet his mentor once a month for breakfast.

Paul also suggested some organisations I might be able to approach for assistance. These include: Irish Aid, Dóchas and Boardmatch Ireland.

When I get a moment I will be able to research these organisations further and think about approaching them.


Saturday, October 14th, 2006

The trip to Vienna went well. The New Internationalist magazine might be interested in a small article about the organisation. Follow-up calls will tell whether anyone else will publish a piece about the organisation. 

My hotel lacked a wi-fi connection, and I neglected to take any photos with my camera phone. One or two others taken with a digital camera will be on here when I have had a chance to compress them. Anyhow, I have now decided to embrace the digital photography age properly and purchase a digital camera very soon.

 I am happy to report that I have perhaps been fortunate to make a worthwhile suggestion to the organisation: that recruiting a PR, journalism or media volunteer from one of the universities in Vienna would help them greatly.

We had what I hope was a mutually enlightening chat about the situation in Basra, her important work, and our respective backgrounds. 

On Tuesday evening I had the privilege of meeting one of the children the organisation has helped. She is in Vienna for treatment for her condition, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, known as ‘Gasbone’ (not sure if spelling is correct) in German. 

Essentially, her bones fracture easily and they need to be reinforced as she grows. This has meant she has spent a lot of time in pain, bed-ridden and unable to attend school. The intensive therapy she receives in Vienna has helped improve her condition: not to mention affording her the opportunity to learn german.