Humanitarian work can take many forms and is a critical lifeline for many communities. The overwhelming majority of humanitarians around the world are local staff members and volunteers. Most often it is members of affected communities who are the first responders.
This World Humanitarian Day, let’s celebrate, support and empower local humanitarian workers. Men, Women, adolescents working to meet the needs of their communities, as paid staff or volunteers.
AKM Anisuzzaman, 50 years ol, works as the Program Manager for the sexual reproductive health (SRH) sector of CARE Bangladesh, for the Cox’s Bazar emergency humanitarian response. He has have been working in the development sector for 25 years and for the last two years with CARE Bangladesh. During the Covid-19 pandemic situation, AKM uses virtual communications to stay in touch with his family, while he works in Cox’s Bazar and his family is in Dhaka.
"A humanitarian worker is someone who feel responsible for marginalized people in society and committed to do something for them. Humanitarian workers work for human beings, for society and for marginalized people’s wellbeing."
Gabriela, aged 30, is a surgeon and is a postgraduate degree candidate on health management. She works on the humanitarian response to COVID-19 in Honduras with CARE's Prolempa Project. This project supports women leaders with capacity building to help in preventing COVID spread in their community, as well as working towards eradicating Gender-Based Violence.
"I am happy to be a humanitarian worker. There has been a great effort to [COVID-19] the response. Most of us involved in the project have not seen our families yet the whole team remains COVID-19 negative and that is a huge relief for us. We are so aware of the responsibility we bear each time we visit a community."
Karunya, 39 years old, is a Project Manager of Community Intervention Programme in Chennai, India, which conducts awareness programs on COVID-19, medical camps and food distributions. She is one of CARE India's front-line warriors during this pandemic.
“My husband fears for my health and asks me to stay home, but, there are doctors, police officers, social workers, health workers and many more fighting the virus every day, leaving behind their families. Without this effort and sacrifice, our society wouldn’t survive this pandemic.’’
"It gives me so much joy to support my community in preventing diseases by disinfecting public institutions and households. At the moment, I am helping in preventing spread of COVID-19 through regular comprehensive disinfection exercises at Undugu Primary school quarantine centre and Hagadera food distribution centre in Hagadera Camp within Dadaab Refugee Complex."
Bouavanh is a Leader, advisor and capacity strengthener on gender mainstreaming and Women’s Empowerment in CARE Laos and Consortium Partners. She is a Gender Advisor with CARE International in Laos and has worked for CARE for 8 years in different roles.
"I hope that all the work I have conducted will encourage women to believe in their ability, have more confidence to raise their voices, allow them to be economically empowered, and have an equal share of household tasks with their families, especially their husbands. I want women’s voices to be respected, have control over their own bodies and allow them to join in equal decision-making and to have access their assets just as men can do."
Oumma, 70 years old, has never been to school and yet has devoted her life to promoting education, especially for girls, and the maintenance school, even though her own means. She is a widow and mother of 8 children and is from the pastoral community in Bermo, Niger. Oumma is a member of the women's groups of the House of Milk production “SUDU KOSSOM”' from Bermo.
“I am committed to the fight for the rights of women and children. I wish women would be more aware of how to integrate into groups (like mine), that young girls go to school so that they can enter politics and be leaders. Because then all the family that will be the beneficiary of success”
Marie, 24 years old, is the Emergency Preparedness and Response Team Leader for CARE Vanuatu. Marie’s job requires her to fly all over the country to respond to emergency crises but her village roots are at the core of her humanitarian work.
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“You feel for the people. People out there in remote communities, they don’t have much access to information or resources so when you have the opportunity, it’s time for you to give more to them. We give our best.”