By Anu John, Program Development Coordinator – Disaster Risk Reduction and Conflict, CARE Afghanistan

I have just completed ten years with CARE. On World Humanitarian Day, I wanted to share the joy and the significance of this journey in my life.

Yes, it’s been 10 years in CARE for me – I still remember the day the HR Director of CARE India told me after the interview, that I was selected for the job. It was part of the campus placement in a social science institute. That day changed my life. Coming from a working class family with a rural background in India, the biggest gift my parents could give me was a good education. And it was up to me to make something of it. And CARE helped me do it. I wanted to be in the ‘helping’ profession is all that I knew. And CARE opened up the doors for me. I got one opportunity after another in CARE, to do what I liked to do best, with all my passion.

I always believed in non-violent means of achieving results. I feared physical pain of any form; it was too close to home for comfort, I guess. Then how could I be ok with conflict especially violent conflict? I could never see sense in having armies and troops and missiles and guns. I wanted peace and wanted to work with people who had lived their lives in a conflict context. Besides everything, CARE gave me the opportunity to work with conflict-affected people and to work on conflict sensitive programming and today I am in a war-torn country – working with the people of Afghanistan. And it’s been achieved with CARE as my employer.

I am sure there are other organizations that do the same, but for me, it was CARE that did it for me. I have to add that, as a girl from rural India, some of the material comforts were a first for me. I travelled in an air-conditioned railway compartment for the first time in March 2000, on the ticket that CARE gave me to attend the interview in New Delhi. I flew for the first time in August 2000; a few years later, I traveled abroad for the first time with the opportunity that CARE gave me to go on a cross-visit to Bangladesh.

They sound materialistic, but for an average young Indian girl, a decade back, these were unimaginable rewards. No doubt, they came with a lot of hard work (as it is for anyone else), and even heartache…difficult bosses, eccentric colleagues, unplanned work, short deadlines and whatnot. But now it doesn’t seem to matter.

For me, CARE was not just an employer, CARE became my hope. I only say this because I truly believe CARE not only strives to make a difference in the lives of people it works for, but also makes a difference to the people who work in the organization. For me, Gender Equity and Diversity (a CARE program to ensure equity among men and women, and provide opportunities for overseas staff) is not a jargon, but a reality, as it is for many others working with CARE, especially in this part of the world.

And I thank CARE and all my colleagues for making our lives beautiful. I am sure that very many staff out there in the country offices, on the front line, working with the communities will have the same to say. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind ourselves of this change we are making in the lives of our staff members.

Salaam to a great decade with CARE. Shukriya (thank you) CARE!