Church Partnership

Anglicans hope Al-Ahli hospital funds will save lives in Gaza

Jenan Taylor - This article was first published in the Melbourne Anglican

16 April 2024

Melbourne Christians hope to save lives at a Gaza Christian hospital through raising funds for its patients’ treatment.

The Al-Ahli Arab Hospital was bombed in October 2023, but has continued to operate despite the devastation.

St Stephen’s and St Mary’s Mount Waverley held a fundraising dinner to help the hospital rebuild some of its major programs recently, including its specialist cancer initiatives.

Organiser and parishioner Irene Donohoue-Clyne said they hoped to help severely malnourished children, and marginalised women access breast cancer treatment.

Dr Donohoue-Clyne said she encouraged Christians to support people in Gaza financially because faith was about acting, not just talking.

“There’s a huge need for medical services especially to help the severely malnourished children, and for breast cancer services,” Dr Donohoue-Clyne said. “The people in Gaza have hope this can be changed, and are heartened by international aid getting through.”

She said the event raised $5000 from the diners, and from members of the community who were unable to attend.

Dr Donohoue-Clyne said it was a small fraction of the funds needed to help people in Gaza, but she believed it would help make a difference.

She said the funds would be expedited to the hospital through Anglican Overseas Aid.

AOA Disaster Response and Resilience coordinator Tim Hartley said support and encouragement mattered more than ever for the hospital and people still caught up in the crisis.

Mr Hartley said some of Al-Ahli Arab’s staff were killed in the last fortnight and there were growing concerns about the crisis escalating if Iran became involved.

He said the hospital was managing to provide about US$300 per patient in inpatient services and US$100 per patient in outpatient services.

Mr Hartley said AOA helped support its breast screening and mammography facility, and funds forwarded there usually covered immediate needs like fuel, water, food, anaesthetic and bandages.

Dr Donohoue-Clyne said the fund-raising dinner also aimed to educate parishioners about what was going on in the Holy Land, beyond what the media reported.

She said Uniting church minister and veteran Bethlehem Bible College volunteer Ann Scull presented attendees with stories of what life was like for people living in the Occupied Territories.

Dr Donohoue-Clyne said unlike mainstream and social media reports that highlighted the destruction and death there, Reverend Scull focused on the life of the people.