CARE Australia is marking World Humanitarian Day by highlighting the sacrifices and contributions being made by Australian aid workers across the globe.
World Humanitarian Day, on August 19, is also a chance to recognise the humanitarian principles that guide their work: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
These principles provide the foundations for humanitarian work and are central to establishing and maintaining access to places where people need help.
CARE Australia asked four Australian staff to explain why they choose to work in development and what motivates them.
Isadora Quay, Gender in Emergencies Specialist for CARE International (Melbourne)
“I got into humanitarian work because it gives me something to do to combat that feeling of helplessness I get when I hear about all the horrible things going on in the world. As I gained more experience as an aid worker I realised I’ve gained skills that really help to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Sally Cooper, Advocacy and Communications Manager for CARE International in South Sudan (Juba)
“There’s a lot of joy that goes with this work. A lot of people think aid work is a hard job. And it is, especially in South Sudan where you’re dealing with work not just nine-to-five but 24 hours, seven days a week. The big pay-off is that you are making a difference in someone’s life. I’ve worked in Afghanistan, Myanmar… the great thing has been the people you meet along the way, the local staff and the people you work with in the community.”
Stav Zotalis, Country Director for CARE International in Myanmar (Yangon)
“As a humanitarian worker for a decade, I’ve witnessed the devastation of natural disasters and unimaginable suffering felt by some of the poorest people on earth. Despite the suffering, I’m often inspired by people’s strength, especially in times of emergency. The commitment of our staff in during these times also gives me great pride.”
Inga Mepham, Program Director for CARE Vanuatu (Port Vila)
“It’s about realising where you, and your skills, can be of assistance. Some people can assist with fundraising. For me, my contribution is on the ground. I also think a belief in human rights – that people shouldn’t suffer – is important. I’ve seen first-hand people at their most vulnerable but also the difference it can make when help is offered.”
Note for editors:
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. www.care.org.au