A Day in the Life of a Humanitarian Aid Worker
Aug 18, 2017
Whether it’s inside Syria, South Sudan or Yemen, they are there to help people facing the worst moments of their lives despite immense pressure and potential danger.
Every year on World Humanitarian Day, August 19, CARE recognizes humanitarian aid workers around the globe who are committed to helping families affected by violence or natural disasters.
To do so, we asked members of our teams inside Syria, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and the Philippines to share a “day in the life” diary perspective. (Links to full stories at bottom)
- “I met a woman who fled her village. She said the insurgents came and killed almost all the men and boys so she took her son and ran. The insurgents caught up with her and told her they were looking for more men to kill. But she had dressed her son in women’s clothes, and that saved his life. These stories are heartbreaking and we hear many like them,” says Fatouma Zara, a gender in emergencies specialist with CARE Canada’s rapid emergency response team based in Niger.
- “I have always wanted to become a midwife and although there is always more to do than I can manage, I know that I make a difference in the lives of hundreds of mothers here,” says Mary Maturu, who works in a CARE women centre for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
- “Sometimes I find it hard to sleep. What if the parents I met lost all their children? Who will support everyone? These are some of the questions that haunt me,” says Amrea Shire, CARE’s emergency programme manager in Somalia.
The stories provide a rare insight into the daily realities of CARE’s aid workers. It shows the immense pressure under which humanitarians deliver emergency assistance and the personal sacrifices they often have to make, especially in conflict-torn and remote areas.
For most, working as a humanitarian professional is more than just a job. It’s a mission and a passion.
“Being a humanitarian aid worker is extremely challenging. Many colleagues live under harsh conditions; they work in refugee camps or in areas destroyed by natural disasters,” says Philippe Guiton, humanitarian operations director for CARE International.
“Often, if not on a daily basis, humanitarians witness people’s suffering, they listen to the traumatic stories of those who have been affected, they empathize with those they assist. Many have to leave families and friends behind, working far away from their homes.”
On August 19, 2003 a brutal attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad killed 22 people, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. World Humanitarian Day is held on August 19 to honour those aid workers who risk their lives to provide humanitarian assistance.
CARE Canada manages the CARE International rapid emergency response team and also coordinates humanitarian projects worldwide. CARE has Canadian spokespeople available to discuss life as a humanitarian and the challenges aid workers face.
To arrange an interview, contact:
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org | 613-228-5641
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