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.