Thursday, 22 December 2016

Building the children's hospital

As part of the blog series we would like to pay tribute to the people and organisations behind the People’s Convoy campaign, starting with the Independent Doctors Association (IDA) who are the organisation responsible for rehabilitating a bombed building into a fully operational children’s hospital in Aleppo.

With an incredible number of donations from over 4,400 people across the world, the People’s Convoy sent an array of medical supplies and equipment from Incubators, Infant ventilators, children’s beds and mattress. via convoy from London on Saturday 17th December.

Who are IDA?

Established in in June 2012 by Syrian doctors from Aleppo in response to the humanitarian needs, the IDA’s mission is to rehabilitate the healthcare system and ensure good health for all persons affected by conflict, natural disasters and epidemics, regardless of religion, ethnicity, background or political affiliation.

The stats

Over the last 4 years the IDA have worked on 11 projects, delivered 12 primary healthcare centres and 2 hospitals which includes 512 medical staff.
During the 12 month period from February 2015 to January 2016, IDA provided health services to 500,000 beneficiaries in 75% of Aleppo governorate.
Towards the end of 2016, IDA has expanded its area of coverage in Aleppo governorate and is soon to reach 1 million beneficiaries.
In addition to establishing and managing health projects, the IDA also detects violations of human rights and infringement of civilian protection, and advocates for an increased protection of medical professionals. 

IDA and the People’s Convoy

On November 18th during the intense airstrike campaign against health facilities in Aleppo, the IDA-supported children’s hospital was bombed out of operation. This attack meant the last specialised pediatric facility in eastern Aleppo was destroyed.

Watch their video detailing the devastation of these bombings

Eastern Aleppo continues to be under bombardment, with the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the area, IDA have identified a safer area to reopen the children's hospital where humanitarian needs are also extremely high.
This area of Aleppo outside of the city has recently been liberated from ISIS and have been suffering from a particularly high influx of internally displaced people since the beginning of this year. Not only is there a lack of healthcare in this area but there is also no specialised paediatric facility at all. 
The purchased hospital equipment, travelling from the UK to Syria, will help to build and supply the children’s hospital.

Who will benefit?

The hospital will be located in free access area, with a catchment population of approximately 185,000 people, an estimated 61,050 children will benefit from the care. Treating 5,087 per month but with further displacement likely to happen this numbers is set to increase everyday.
The People’s Convoy international appeal compliments Syrian’s efforts to ensure those fleeing violence receive vital health care and emergency supplies.


The timeline to get the hospital patient-ready will be approximately 1-2 months, expected to open and treat the first patient on 1st March 2017 if not sooner.
To ensure the safe journey of our drivers and doctors travelling to Syria, real-time updates from the convoy will not be made public as they approach Syria.
From IDA
This unity of Syrian doctors and people around the world to help us deliver life-saving assistance to our fellow citizens is one of the largest displays of solidarity that the Syrian medical community has seen. After 6 years of war, the humanitarian situation in Syria has been going on for far too long, and we thank you for standing with us in saying that attacks on hospitals and civilians must stop, and to international governments who have not done enough to act urgently to protect civilians and ensure they can get the aid they need.

What's been achieved

How you can help

We are still encouraging donations with the fundraising page open until 1st January 2017 as any money raised over the target will go towards the ongoing operational costs of the children’s hospital in Aleppo.
Please continue to share the appeal via social media (links below) and donate via to help us raise as much money as we can before the campaign comes to an end.


Monday, 19 December 2016

Launch success

The People’s Convoy launched this weekend from the Chelsea and Westminster hospital in west London to a mass of media coverage. With representatives from the organising partners giving interviews to many major media outlets, the cold December morning was filled with a buzz of excitement and optimism. This is the first ever crowdfunded hospital, with over 4,000 single donations, the people had spoken and were standing with Syrians.

Before the truck with the medical supplies and equipment for the children’s hospital left for their long journey on the road to Aleppo, we saw an address from core convoy team (Dr Rola Hallam, Dr Saleyha Ahsan, Dr Zaher Sahloul and Paul Conroy) and Leila Alikarami from the Nobel Women’s Initiative - it was broadcast live on Facebook.

Dr Rola Hallam said the success of the fundraising through people coming together was “a ray of light and hope”, adding “This is a display of the best of humanity”.

A response to war crimes
She also spoke of catalyst for the People’s Convoy, the recent bombing in eastern Aleppo that saw the last remaining children’s hospital obliterated had sparked the idea of rebuilding a hospital using CanDo’s localised humanitarian model which includes crowdfunding as it’s main source of fundraising. A response to the situation in Aleppo was critical so an emergency campaign was put together with a team of organising partners and launched with less than 3 weeks to fundraise.  

On the subject of the targeting of health care facilities and workers, Dr Rola Hallam said “If hospitals are destroyed we will keep rebuilding, we will not be stopped from doing our lifesaving work. This is our way of bringing to light the attacks on hospitals. This has to stop, we don’t accept the status quo”

A chain reaction
The UK were joined by a French convoy on Saturday, delivered by Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (“UOSSM”) France. UOSSM are transporting medical supplies and equipment to re-equip a number of clinics in Aleppo. They are also fundraising 100,000 for medicines and other medical supplies for the clinics. They are currently just over 86% of their fundraising target so please donate to support their convoy if you can.

More fantastic news came this morning as we’ve had another country reach out to do their own convoy - the more countries that take this up, the more hospitals that can be rebuilt and more medical workers supported to do their job; save more lives!

Convoy status
The fundraising website was inundated over the weekend, and as of this morning (Monday 19th December) and incredible 4,052 people have raised £190,481. We have also been flooded with messages of support and love from the public from the People’s Convoy and messages to be delivered to Syrians in solidarity which have come in via the hashtags #PeoplesConvoy and #Messages4Syria.

Any money raised over our target of £91,432 will go towards the operating costs of the hospital. The fundraising page will be open until 1st January so we’re on a drive to raise as much as we can before the campaign comes to an end. Please continue to share, support and donate whatever possible.

Some news coverage of the launch includes;

Stay in contact
We will be regularly updating CanDo’s social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emailing our community. If you would like to receive emails please sign up at our website.


Core convoy team
  • Dr Rola Hallam, consultant Anaesthetist, Founder and CEO of CanDo
  • Dr Zaher Sahloul, Founder and Executive Member at American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of 14 Syrian American Diaspora humanitarian organizations helping millions of Syrians and Syrian refugees.
  • Paul Conroy, freelance photographer and filmmaker, was injured in Homs in 2012, in the same attack that killed war correspondent Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times
  • Dr Saleyha Ahsan, an emergency medicine doctor and freelance journalist and filmmaker, who was was the first Muslim woman to graduate from Sandhurst as a British Army Officer

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

We really need your help. We, the people who have witnessed this humanitarian disaster unfold, now have a way of taking action. We are coming together to fund a children's hospital to be delivered on a convoy.

The convoy leaves London this Saturday (December 17th) and we need £90,000. Please donate, please support this positive action.


State of emergency

In the last few weeks, the remaining hospitals in East Aleppo were bombed out of operation. One of the hospitals destroyed was the last remaining children’s hospital. It was bombed whilst treating the victims of a chlorine gas attack.
As recent as last night (December 12th) innocent civilians and health workers have been killed as Aleppo has fallen, but the survivors desperately need medical assistance.

Healthcare in Syria is in a state of emergency, these unprecedented attack on hospitals and health workers is a breach of the Geneva convention. It is a war crime. Whilst our governments fail to act, we the people can and will act.

The convoy

In an effort both to provide help and to show solidarity for health care workers and Syrian civilians, a crowdfunded convoy of hospital equipment and supplies is leaving London on 17th December for a seven day overland journey. It will be met at the Turkey border by Syrian medical/humanitarian organisations who will take the convoy onward to rehabilitate a building and equip it as a new paediatric hospital.
The hospital will have a reach of 185,000 people, and is expecting to treat 5,087 children per month, a figure that is likely to increase.

This will be the first crowdfunded hospital in the world.

This convoy is symbolic as well as practical. It is to say to the medical community in Syria; we can hear you and we stand with you.

How you can help

Many people in the UK will want to stand with us – we need to spread the word through whatever routes you have.

Save Lives

Donate to ensure success of the convoy delivering specific medical supplies to those in urgent need and towards building a hospital.

Show solidarity

Build support for Syria’s heroic doctors, nurses and aid workers through your own networks by supporting and endorsement this campaign. Share a message of solidarity with #PeoplesConvoy

Create political pressure

Amplify the convoy call for an end to attacks on hospitals and civilians; and for allowing immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas.

You can also join the Convoy: ride with us for all or part of the journey across Europe, or join us in your own vehicle.
Or attend the launch event: More details on location & time will be sent to you if you sign up for updates on

Time is short – convoy departs on this Saturday 17th December.