Frontline Stories

We are Humanitarians

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As a responsive humanitarian organisation, World Vision works in over 100 countries in the world. Everywhere we go, our talented and committed staff dedicate themselves to serving and providing assistance for those who need it most. Here are the stories of three of our staff members.

Himaloy (Bangladesh)

Himaloy joined World Vision in 2016 as a communicator, travelling across Bangladesh to provide communications support for responses to floods, cyclones and landslides. In 2017, he started covering the refugee crisis, as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya began to arrive in Bangladesh, having fled from their homes in Myanmar.

Himaloy says that remembering those days still fills him with fear and anxiety. Two years on, while refugees’ basic needs are now taken care of, they are deprived of rights and their future remains uncertain.

“Refugees ask me, ‘Brother, do you think that we will able to return to our villages?’ I still cannot say yes. We all know that the situation in their homeland is not conducive for their safe return. I tell them that we are working together with the Bangladeshi government, the United Nations and other NGOs. I tell them people around the world are praying for them and supporting them. But it might take time. We have to go on with hope.” He writes. “I continue to hope that the world will hear the voices of these most vulnerable people, and that the Rohingya will know life in all its fullness.”

Carol (Philippines)

Carol has been responding to different emergencies since 2001, including typhoon Haiyan in 2013. A nurse by profession, she started with World Vision’s health projects. During emergencies, however, she would be asked to be part of emergency response teams.

When typhoon Mangkhut lashed the province of Cagayan in Northern Philippines in September 2018, Carol was one of the first responders to be deployed.

“Of all the responses I have been to, this was the most personal,” she recalls. Cagayan is Carol’s hometown. She speaks the local community’s language. The rice and corn fields that were rendered useless by strong winds of Mangkhut were the lands that fed her and her family. The people affected were the same people she grew up with.

Carol was deployed as the team leader for operations. Part of her task was to smoothly implement cash-based programme as part of World Vision’s commitment to help the affected farmers in their recovery.

“The implementation of flexible cash programming like direct distribution, voucher, and cash transfer made the response more relevant and responsive to the evolving needs of the disaster-affected families. I also come from a family of farmers and I know how difficult it is for those impacted by the disaster,” she says.

It was not an easy feat though. First, there were challenges on logistics, forging partnership with local suppliers and financial service providers and the pressure of providing aid on time. Second, everyone wanted to be part of the programme. Using her experiences in major responses in the past, Carol ensured that all possible accountability mechanisms were set up. This included setting up of feedback mechanisms, provision of information materials and conduct of community consultations.

“What I am able to do now is the result of the many years of working as humanitarian. Setting foot in areas where I wasn’t familiar, especially in fragile contexts, staying up late to ensure that plans are in place and aid reaches the most vulnerable communities, talking with children and their families are just some of the significant experiences I had that taught me to be agile, especially in the implementation of programmes that will benefit the children. Then and now, my goal remains – protect the children from the impact of disasters by helping create an enabling environment for them to bounce back,” says Carol.

Susan (South Sudan)

“I was barely 17 years old when the conflict broke out and intensified in nearby communities in Yei, South Sudan. My mother decided for us to seek refuge in Uganda”, recalls Susan. “For days we hid in a cave until it was safe for us to continue walking to the border.”

They ended up in one of the refugee settlements. Moving from conflict zone to a settlement crowded with refugees like them did not give the family any relief, except the thought that they were finally safe. Susan remembers, “The situation in the camp was difficult. I saw people suffering and dying of cholera and other diseases. Food assistance was not enough.”

But she also saw something positive in the dire circumstance around her. Education was free and she could go to school, even as the family struggled with hunger.

In 2006, her family was repatriated back to South Sudan. Life was difficult, so she, then 22, moved to the capital to look for opportunities. She enrolled in a university and started doing volunteer work related to de-mining. “I decided I will not go anywhere outside of the country but stay and do my share for my fellow countrymen,” she says.

When she found out children were getting maimed and injured because of land mines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs), she was determined to learn more about what she can contribute. She began giving talks at schools to keeping the students aware of the dangers of UXOs and this commitment subsequently brought her to World Vision in 2018 as a mines risk educator. “I always think that a lot of lives are dependent on how effectively I do my work, and that children can lose limbs and their lives if their parents are not educated about the risks,” she says.

Looking back, Susan believes she made the right decision to go back to South Sudan and contribute what she can to her people. “I try to become an example to other women to find work and not depend for support from others. Education is very important, especially in the communities,” she concludes.

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