Millions of children throughout the world suffer from a lack of access to medical care and education. La ChaÎne de l’Espoir (Chain of Hope) was founded in Paris in 1994 as a network of excellence and medico-surgical expertise committed to providing access to healthcare and education to the world’s poorest children, their families and their communities. Venture talked to Haitham Talli, director general of the charity’s local arm, about it’s inception and the work it does with Jordanian and refugee children.
What is La Chaîne de l’Espoir? And when was it set up in Jordan?
La Chaîne de l’Espoir (CDE) is a French NGO based in Paris. It was launched by Medecins du Monde in 1988, but was officially registered as a non-profit association in 1994.
La Chaîne de l’Espoir works in 30 countries and operates on 5,000 children every year. It hosts 300 families, has 431 volunteer medical staff, has built 4 hospitals, and has 11,000 children enrolled in schools around the world. 40 employees and permanent volunteers work for us every day, in addition to the hundreds of volunteers working in France and abroad.
La Chaîne de l’Espoir (Jordan) started in 2013, with the objective of performing surgical operations on the poorest children and most vulnerable, including Syrian refugees. It also focuses on the participation in training of local medical staff in preparation for a return to normal of the general health framework in Syria.
But with the increase in the volume of work, and the difficulties of maintaining proper follow up with the beneficiaries who underwent orthopaedic and cardiac operations since 2013, CDE decided to officially register itself (undergoing process) to have a permanent presence as an NGO in Amman. This decision was made to facilitate follow up with the beneficiaries (both old and new cases), and to develop and maintain contacts with international organizations, NGOs and associations active in the fields of health and assistance to refugees, as well as the active participation in local meetings of these organizations in relation to the activities of the CDE.
Who is your staff comprised of?
CDE doctors and volunteers are cardiac and orthopaedic surgeons, resident surgeons, anaesthetists, perfusionists, ICU nurses or nurses, and they are from everywhere – French, German, Belgian, Italian, Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanians.
How does CDE function locally in Jordan? What is the involvement of local doctors, hospitals, or charities, if any?
La Chaîne de l’Espoir has 2 contracts with local hospitals – the Gardens Hospital for cardiac operations, and Maqased Hospital Charity for orthopaedic operations. Whenever CDE prepares for a mission, it corresponds with the hospital and provides information about the upcoming mission (dates, team members and their qualifications and certificates, and what the team is planning to perform), so the hospital can get the approval for the mission from the Ministry of Health.
At the same time CDE’s local representative prepares all the necessary needs for the team members like accommodation and transportation, as well as the list of beneficiaries to be seen by the team.
The beneficiaries are carefully selected by contacting NGOs and associations active in the fields of health, the UNHCR, as well as our volunteers and contacts working in refugee camps who could be doctors, students or people working in local NGO associations.
When is the next mission to Jordan?
La Chaîne de l’Espoir’s next mission is orthopedic and will be from 12 – 20 January, 2017 at Al Maqased Hospital Charity, in the Nazal Area in Amman.
What are some of the most difficult issues that you face here?
The most difficult issues are managing to find the most vulnerable beneficiaries, and performing the follow up with them, as much of the time their families leave the country or change contact information. Sometimes the difficulty is not being able to reach those children who need our services the most – children in life threatening circumstances.
How do you fund such a far-reaching charity?
La Chaîne de l’Espoir’s funds are raised in several ways; firstly, by collecting donations from members of the public through finding individual donors or patrons. Private partnerships are also important as we seek funding from businesses for our major projects, operations in France or educational support. We also implement private or public institutional partnerships with help from national or international institutions and foundations. Bequests, life insurance policies and donations through explaining the idea to donors and establishing a relationship with them are also important components of our funding. Finally, we communicate our message and create publicity through taking part in broadcasts, television appearances and charitable events.
This is part four of a nine-piece story. Other pieces include: