World Humanitarian Day 2023: a blog by Gloria Youri, HR Services Manager

When I think of World Humanitarian Day (WHD), I recall the day many years ago when a two-wing humanitarian helicopter dropped me off in what seemed like the middle of nowhere in the interior of Southern Sudan.

I felt completely out of place as I stood there with my backpack and laptop wondering if I’d been dropped off in the right location. After what seemed a long time, people began to emerge onto the ‘airstrip’ from all corners, having presumably heard the sound of the departed helicopter.

blog by Gloria Youri, HR Services Manager

It was a relief to be taken to the compound where our project office and residence of our international staff was based. As I write this, I remember being taken to the ‘clinic’ and seeing malnourished babies latching on to the malnourished breasts of their mothers and wondering how the world became so broken.

The hope in that brokenness was the passion and compassion of the aid workers both national and international (expatriate) staff working tirelessly to feed, clothe, educate and befriend people in dire need whose only experience in life for generations had been protracted war.

Some are first responders, some are disaster managers and others stay on for longer term development. Not to be forgotten are affected people themselves; we see them on our television screens digging through rubble with bare hands to find survivors in the aftermath of disasters.

Together they form a global community that ensures no one is alone in the face of adversity. The news reporters and their cameras may have left our TV screens and a particular disaster or humanitarian situation is no longer newsworthy or trending on social media, however the human suffering caused continues and aid workers carry on relentlessly in the background.

I’ve had the privilege of recruiting aid workers from different parts of the world, and on boarding them to environments embroiled in conflict and war or devastated by natural disasters.

In 2021, 460 aid workers were attacked: 140 killed, 203 wounded and 117 kidnapped with most of the violence taking place in South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.

The impact of humanitarian work cannot be overemphasised: without the global community of dedicated aid workers the level of human suffering caused by conflict, war and natural disasters would be unimaginable. WHD advocates for the survival, wellbeing and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers.

This World Humanitarian Day 2023, we remember and appreciate humanitarian aid workers.