International Hope Canada Inc is a volunteer-driven humanitarian organization working to redistribute surplus medical supplies and equipment to areas in need in developing nations. Founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2002, International Hope Canada is a non-profit with charitable status.
Although International Hope Canada Inc was officially incorporated in 2002, the seeds of IHC were sown in 1997. Phyllis Reader, an operating room nurse, had participated in international medical missions to some of the most impoverished countries of the world. Struck by the lack of even the most basic necessities, she began saving supplies that were otherwise disposed of at her place of employment in a Winnipeg hospital.
In 2001, Sonia Michalyshen, a nursing colleague of Phyllis’, was on a mission in Malawi, Africa, and was in desperate need of basic supplies to provide care to her clients in a small clinic. Thus was International Hope Canada was born and Malawi became the first country to receive these welcomed supplies.
At first, most items were hand delivered in suitcases or shipped in crates or on pallets. Now, with the cooperative support of other groups, organizations and individuals, IHC volunteers also fill 40-foot shipping containers to send to recipient clinics and hospitals overseas. Some smaller quantities are still hand delivered. Since inception, IHC volunteers have shared medical materials with needy communities in more than 40 countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and South and Central America.
We provide free medical supplies and equipment to needy people in developing nations without discrimination on the basis of religion, race, creed, nationality or gender.
We operate with, and are committed to, honesty, efficiency and integrity in our daily operations.
We fulfill a special unifying role within Canada’s overseas relief by establishing partnerships with several segments of Canadian society, such as the health care industry, overseas relief organizations, the medical community and the general public.
We operate independently, free of political, social or denominational associations.
We receive donated medical supplies and equipment from hospitals, suppliers, private donors, nursing homes and government agencies. These surplus goods are shipped to destinations where medical supplies are largely non-existent.
We operate as a charitable non-profit organization with 100% volunteer support.
IHC establishes working partnerships with local groups, international aid organizations, the healthcare industry, and the medical community, independent of political, religious, or cultural alliance.
The process begins when a local third party group approaches IHC with a desire to meet a need in another country. A strong and reliable relationship with the recipient community is essential to ensure a bona fide medical group takes delivery of the shipment, all customs regulations are met, and equipment and supplies are safely distributed as intended.
It may take several weeks, even months, to complete all necessary documentation. The recipient community is provided with a comprehensive list of items available and develops a ‘wish list’. The third party raises the funds to meet the cost of shipping and contributes volunteer help to load the container. IHC volunteers provide advice on project details, securing of the container, and other legalities, as well as troubleshooting.
Finally, items are packed, labelled, loaded, and shipped.