Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Do Iraqi Terrorists Have Internet Access?

26 October, 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

25 October, 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

17 October, 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.

Vienna

14 October, 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.

Plenty Still To Do

28 September, 2006

Although I had a few minutes spare to write about the radio show yesterday, during the previous fortnight or so a fault with my laptop meant I was offline recently for the best part of a week. I was also busy getting getting desks for the office.

Thanks to BMS in Walkinstown for fixing my laptop and fitting a new keyboard.

I managed to assemble one of the desks kindly donated on Freecycle.org. The other one came without instructions and is still in pieces. The owner also threw in an old computer, which probably needs a new keyboard and mouse. 

My thanks to Feroz Basir from Lucan and Gerard Cregan from Blackrock. 

Trip to Vienna 

Aer Lingus recently had a three day low fares offer, so I’ll be spending a few days in Vienna next month to meet with Dr Hobiger and two fathers and their sons from Iraq who travelled to Austria for cancer treatment. 

I hope to generate some publicity from this with interviews and photos. Rageh Omaar’s second article on the NGO situation in Iraq was quite interesting, so it would be great if I could expand on the detail somehow.

A little done, plenty still to do 

In the meantime, one of my volunteers might have our first sponsor lined up if we can organise a photography trip to Basra. Whether this will actually be possible is still a matter for discussion, but as always I think it is important to aim high.  

The new website is waiting to go online – I desperately need a logo to go on it, which is a job for another volunteer whose email arrived nearly two weeks ago, and to whom I must apologise for the delay in responding. 

Medicines still need to be bought and one or two potential donors still need to be approached, not to mention my lofty intention to canvass the universities for one or two PR, media or journalism student volunteers. 

Due to the worsening security situation in Basra, the final paragraph of this post has been removed.