In 1996, the idea for starting a children’s charity was birthed on a short-term trip to an orphanage in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. It was at that time Bryan Grasby and Michelle van Zanen began discussing ways they could help the children more directly. After returning to Australia they began brainstorming ideas for a charity and began putting the framework in place, for what is now ‘Door Of Hope Australia, Inc.’
The name comes from a book in the Bible called Hosea, chapter 2 verse 15: “… And make a valley of Achor (literally means trouble) to be a door of hope.” The whole concept of the Door Of Hope is tied up in that statement; opening a door of hope for children who live in a place of trouble.
The DOHA Board Members were selected and many subsequent trips throughout Africa, Asia and Pacfic Islands were undertaken. In 2000, DOHA arranged for a medical team to travel to different Islands in Philippines to help the local Doctors and run medical clinics in the outer villages, and also held the first Board meeting. DOHA was registered with the Australian Tax office as an ‘income exempt charity entity’ and received an ‘ABN’.
In 2001, bank accounts were opened and a small core group of volunteers met each Thursday night to work on practical tasks for the Door Of Hope, thereby enabling the charity to progress.
In the beginning, projects supported by the DOHA were through the CRC Churches International. For a time, DOHA supported a work in Mozambique in Africa; milk program and medical clinics until this project ended.
In 2002, a follow-up trip to Philippines was undertaken and a trip to Fiji to visit the pre-schools. In July of 2002, Michelle resigned from her position of 10 years, completed a 6 week full-time course through Beth Raham (CARTC Children at Risk Training Course) and began full-time at DOHA as Project Manager.
DOHA received its certificate of Incorporation and registered as a charity with Consumer Affairs in April of 2003; approved for Merchant numbers with M/C, V/C and Amex in May of 2003 and approved as a signatory to the ACFID (Australian Council for International Development) code of conduct in December of 2003.
In 2005, DOHA began focusing on helping South Sudanese recover from the devastating civil war which ended in 2005. After dialogue with community leaders, members and government officials, the greatest need was for more schools, due to the increased desire to educate their population. Many schools were meeting under mango trees, in burnt out buildings, mud/dung huts and buildings in ill-repair. So in 2007, DOHA renovated a school in Laylo, Malakal. Once completed, the school was filled to capacity and new buildings were immediately required. It became apparent that the community needed to be empowered to build their own schools, clinics, etc, as required, rather than relying on the international community. The ‘Build Project’ was researched and proposed, partnership agreements with local governors were signed, and DOHA became focused on raising funds for this community initiative.
Formal dinners, guest speakers at functions, community rallies, chocolate fundraisers, sales of artefacts, requests for donations, membership drives, crowd funding, music CDs, screensavers, mouse pads, pens, greeting cards, photographs, magnets, calendars, silent auctions, online auctions, social media, and so on, have all been enacted to raise DOHA’s finance and profile.
DOHA was approved for Tax Deductible Donations: OAGDS (Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme) in 2009 and received its first AusAID Grant in May 2011 for a brickmaking machine in Malakal, South Sudan. In 2013, DOHA became a Member of ACFID, as well as a signatory to the Code of Conduct.
Currently, DOHA is involved in building projects and vocational training in South Sudan and Papua New Guinea, supporting the salaries of Pre School Teachers in Fiji, providing food aid to South Sudanese living in Juba and providing educational supplies and feeding programs to assist refugees living in Turkey (mostly from Syria, Iraq & Iran) to educate their children.
Door of Hope Australia, Inc. is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and adheres to the ACFID Code of Conduct which defines minimum standards of governance, management and accountability of development for non-government organisations (NGOs). Complaints relating to a breach of the ACFID Code of Conduct can be made to the ACFID Code of Conduct Committee.