WHEN disaster strikes, Alethea Gold is one of the first to help.
Currently, there are more than 300,000 Syrian refugees in the Duhok province of Kurdistan, and hospitals in the region are in desperate need of more oxygen concentrators.
Along with Operation Hope, Gold – a Sydney-based volunteer and global goodwill ambassador with Israeli based organisation SmartAID – is collecting medical equipment to send to Kurdistan later this month.
“I had every intention of going to Kurdistan to help distribute the contents of the shipping container but that is impossible at this time due to restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gold.
“Israel is very passionate about helping the Kurds. They are one of our allies, and SmartAID has been very active in trying to help them.”
Back home and with assistance from organisations including the PatientSafe Network, the Victor Smorgon Charitable Fund and DHL, Gold has been steering the ship in supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health workers and those in need.
SmartAID has delivered to Hatzolah, JewishCare, Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation and the Sydney Children’s Hospital among others.
“One doctor called me and broke down on the phone. His wife was working on the frontline within the COVID ward at one of Sydney’s top hospitals. It was right at the beginning and nobody knew what was going on. Everyone was feeling very insecure.”
Since the pandemic began, SmartAID has been supplying PPE to countries including China, the Philippines, the US, and parts of Europe, and recently sent 15,000 Samsung tablets to families in South Africa. The tablets offer learning programs for children, and COVID updates for their parents.
This past year also saw Gold on the ground in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
SmartAID took over water purifiers, dengue fever palettes and 5000 solar powered lanterns for people living without electricity.
“The whole island was a disaster, and completely flattened by the hurricane. We really made a difference there,” said Gold.
Some months later, she flew to an island much closer to home.
“I took 10 Israelis with me to Kangaroo Island in February,” Gold remarked.
“We were rolling out fences and repairing them for farmers on the island because all their fences had burnt down.”
To donate oxygen concentrators to SmartAID, contact Alethea at firstname.lastname@example.org.