Completed Project: Operation Hope Teddy Project

The Operation Hope Teddy Project ran from January to June 2017.  Instigated by a request from Erica Henley, Teddy Bears Without Borders supporters provided more than 100 handmade teddies to be sent to hospitals serving refugees and those affected by war in Iraq.  Below, in reverse chronological order, you can read about how the project unfolded

Operation Hope Teddy Project June 2017 Update

Our participation in this hugely successful project came to an end in June as Erica Henley and her fellow AdventistHelp colleagues jetted off to Iraq to provide some much needed support for the people there.  We received an initial update from Erica on her arrival in Erbil:

“Hi from Erbil

Just to let you know that 2 bags of teddies have arrived at my home while I have been here in Iraq. Many thanks to the lovely knitters …my son will bring them to Erbil on 6 June.

Attached are a few photos of teddies we have handed out in two hospitals in Erbil where children from Mosul have been transferred for surgery.
I spent some time with a young ten year old girl with burns to 70% of her body and left a teddy with her. We are hoping to get her medicvac-ed to the US.

The remainder of the teddies will be kept for the new AdventistHelp field hospital still under construction.

Thank you so much for your support.”

We received a second update from Erica once some of the teddies were distributed:

“Remember we took a large bag of hand knitted teddy bears to the Hospital in Erbil to be distributed amongst the children? Badrxan Sherwani the managing director of Raparin hospital of pedeatrics has just sent me these photos of the children receiving the teddy bears.

With thanks to our knitters in Australia – Margaret Brown and friends, Cathy Kuipersand the Indooroopilly uniting church knitting group, Bronwyn DunnKerrie Broadbent,Bronwyn PetrieKathie StewartMarjorie Fairbairn, and the national group Teddy Bears without Borders. LeanneAinslie BosRobert Bos

Some of our contributors also provided teddies for a second shipment that would head off with Erica’s son Michael to a hospital in Greece that served refugees there.

second shipment

“Michael Henley dispatched to fassifern train station for part 1 of his overseas adventure. Thanks for the pink case you left in Erbil, Cathy Kuipers … is headed back there with 15 kg of medical supplies and teddy bears.”

We received this final update from Erica also:

erica update last

Overall, Teddy Bears Without Borders supporters provided over 100 handmade teddies to contribute to this project.

The Operation Hope Teddy Project has now been completed!  Thank you so much to all of you who supported this project by making teddies or sharing the project and many thanks to Erica for getting in touch and asking us to support her work.

Operation Hope Project May 2017 Update

The first phase of our involvement in the Operation Hope Teddy Project has come to a close with our teddies heading off to Iraq to cheer up some children in desperate need of a bit of joy.  I dropped off the Teddy Bears Without Borders contingent to Leanne Rogers last week and they will be added to the collection that the Operation Hope team has been putting together to take with them that includes warm hats and jumpers.

Leanne said….

“Meet some fabulous little friends made by Teddies Without Borders knitters in Brisbane. These cute friends are heading to Iraq with me to give to kids coming through the AdventistHelp emergency medical Unit in a refugee camp just outside of Mosul. ISIS banned all dolls and toys so these teddies will find friends very quickly. Thanks Erica for organising this project.”

knitfest teddies bon voyage

We ended up with about 90 teddies in this shipment and thank you to Renee Bratby, Belinda Young, Elizabeth McLeod, Pat Rudd and L. Grey who contributed teddies.

Thank you also to Erica Henley who originally reached out to Teddy Bears Without Borders to see if we would like to be involved.

Erica said…

“Thank you so much to the wonderful knitters of the teddies that are going to Iraq next week. They will be gifted to children that come as patients to a new field hospital 25kms east of Mosul. For some of these children, it will be their only furry friend. 6 Aussies have the privilege as volunteers at the hospital to hand out these gorgeous teddies. You have created a brighter future for these displaced children. Thank you.”

Erica and Leanne and all your team, THANK YOU for making a positive difference for refugee and asylum seeker children and those affected by war.

Operation Hope Project March 2017 Update:

I’m reliably assured that there are many of you working away in the background in order to get your tiny teddies to us by the first shipment date of April 20th, 2017.  For those of you who are pacing yourselves, there will also be a second shipment date deadline of May 19th, 2017, so there’s still plenty of time to get those teddies made and ready to ship outoperation hope little ted 1!

I spent a nice rainy day designing a pattern for a teddy of the right size.  Despite  his crooked nose, I think he turned out rather well!  I’m hoping to write out the pattern with some accompanying photos and post it on this site in the not too distant future in case others want to make some teddies from this pattern.  Of course, there are plenty of patterns for those of you already knitting, sewing or crocheting on our information page for this project, which you can access by clicking hereand scrolling down the page a bit.


Teddy Project Details: Operation Hope


The teddy bears we receive from the Operation Hope Teddy Project will be gifted to refugee children who visit the AdventistHelp field hospital located at two refugee camps between Mosul and Erbil, where 60,000 mainly Iraq and Syrians have fled to escape the horrors of Mosul.  Hopefully, our teddies will provide some comfort and assist with the trauma that they are experiencing.

To find out more about the background to this project, please read Erica’s story.


We are asking for knitted, crocheted or sewn teddies of APPROXIMATELY 6 Inches or 15 cm in height.

Any fabric or yarn type is acceptable.  Teddies should be stuffed with fibrefill (hobby stuffing), rather than rice or rags.

Teddies must have embroidered facial features (no safety eyes) and friendly faces are best.

Safety eyes are not safe (ironically!) for very small children, so embroidered faces are a must.  You can find excellent tutorials for how to sew faces onto yarn and fabric dolls here, here and here.

Teddies should preferably be free of accessories (jackets, scarves, hats etc), but any adornments MUST be firmly stitched to the body of the teddy.

Extra bits like scarves look super-cute, but can detach from the teddy and cause a choking hazard so please re-think adding them in.


We will require two shipments of teddies – the first must be received by post or drop-off no later than APRIL 20th, 2017.

These teddies will head off with the Operation Hope volunteers to the field hospital mentioned above.

For late starters (or late finishers!), a second shipment of teddies must be received by post or drop-off no later than May 19th, 2017


Teddies can be posted to:

Operation Hope Teddy Project

13 Panorama St,

Bray Park  QLD  4500

OR contact us via our Facebook page for details about drop-offs in Brisbane and New South Wales.


You are welcome to use any pattern you prefer for making your teddy as long as it suits the size requirements listed above.  If you need help finding a pattern, look below!


Fin Bear from Bonniebabes UK

Koala Baby from Knitted Toy Box (just be sure to substitute the safety eyes for embroidered ones!)

Knitted Twin Bears by CraftBits

*Please note, I am a crocheter, not a knitter, so I have no idea how difficult or easy these patterns are.  If you are a knitter and know of an accessible and simple pattern of the right dimensions, please feel free to comment below!*

Crochet Teddy Patterns:

Classic Little Bear Pattern by Hook and Stitch Crafts

*I made this bear as a beginner crocheter a few years ago – it’s a simple pattern to follow…just perhaps leave out the scarf!*

Bruno Bear by Baghi Handmade with Love (just be sure to substitute the safety eyes for embroidered ones!)

Small Long-Legged Cat by Kristi Tullus

* I realise this patten says “cat” but I have used this pattern to make a cute little bear by simply leaving off the tail! Here’s a pic:

long legged cat.jpg


Please note you may have to adjust the printing size of these patterns to get the right size for your teddy.

Warren the Charity Bear by Shiny Happy World (just remember to replace safety eyes with embroidered ones!)

SOFT BABY BEAR by Maya @ SewToy

Teddy Bears by MamaSmiles