Ifrah Ahmed Abbas posing a photo with a group of children during her visit to one of the biggest IDP settlements in Garowe town, Puntland state of Somalia. Photo: Khadar/NRC.
Verdens humanitære dag

Møt hverdagsheltene i Flyktninghjelpen

For å markere årets Verdens humanitære dag feirer vi åtte av våre #RealLifeHeroes. Disse hjelpearbeiderne jobber for Flyktninghjelpen i noen av de farligste stedene i verden, og hjelper mennesker som er tvunget på flukt. Les om hva som inspirerer dem og hvordan de har håndtert utfordringen med en global pandemi - med deres egne ord.

Verdens humanitære dag markeres 19. august hvert år for å hylle hjelpearbeidere som risikerer livet i humanitær tjeneste, og for å samle støtte til mennesker som er rammet av kriser rundt om i verden.

Hvis du blir inspirert av historiene til kollegaene våre, kan du lese mer om hvordan du kan være med å bidra og støtte humanitært arbeid over hele verden.

“Helping others to adapt with the new safety measures.”
NRC Syria, Madona Kouz 
It was my responsibility to give NRC Syria staff an induction on the Donning and Doffing of PPEs. I was very invested in making the process clear and understandable, but also I felt responsible for  making sure the induction would reassure staff on preventive measures and that it would not generating fear,  as I know the risks they already go through during normal times. It is very relieving to know that after every field mission our staff can go home safe and healthy to their families and loved ones.
Les billedteksten "Det er en stor lettelse å vite at de ansatte kan reise trygt hjem til familiene sine etter å ha vært ute i felten," sier Madona Kouz, som jobber som sikkerhetsassisten for Flyktninghjelpen i Syria. Foto: Flyktninghjelpen

Madona Kouz – sikkerhetsassistent for Flyktninghjelpen i Syria

Det var mitt ansvar å lære de ansatte Flyktninghjelpen i Syria hvordan de kan ta på og av personlig verneutstyr på en trygg måte.

Jeg var veldig opptatt av å gjøre prosedyren tydelig og forståelig, men jeg følte også et ansvar for at de ansatte skulle føle seg trygge på sikkerhetstiltakene våre. Jeg var opptatt av å ikke skape frykt fordi jeg vet hvor mye risiko de ansatte lever med fra før.

Det er en stor lettelse å vite at de ansatte kan reise trygt hjem til familiene sine etter å ha vært ute i felten.

Murtaza Sarwari, 42, has been working for NRC Afghanistan since 2008. He joined NRC as a driver after finishing his job contract with the Japan embassy in Kabul. He starts at 6:00 in the morning, and gets off the wheel around 8:00 p.m. three days a week. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, he is normally reporting to his job and risking his personal health to help delivering to the people in need. 


Quotes: 
"I worked as usual during this pandemic. It was an emergency period and we had to stay open and deliver to those in need.” 
“There were many people in camps and settlements that needed our help and support. There were many families that were not able to even buy washing soap or shampoos if we weren’t there to support and that was more of a reason for all of us to continue working.”
“I have remained a humanitarian for almost one and half decade and I wanted always to help people and this was the right time. When the situation comes, we have to dive into dangers for the well-being of others and that’s our job as a humanitarian aid worker.” 
“Though it was a tough time for all of us, specially at the beginning of the pandemic while hearing a lot of rumors, but I do feel happy now and pleased that we stayed and delivered. As it is being said, after every darkness is a light.”
“As a driver, I am trying to do everything I can to make sure that my colleagues and also my family are taken care of and protected. I’m keeping myself sanitized and then, sanitize the vehicle with the doors locked for twenty minutes twice a day, by doing so, I protect everyone in my circle. 
“I love my job and I love NRC. However, I feel like we need more protection equipment while travelling between home and office. Most of us use public transportation to get to work and back home, so there are chances that we might get infected in the public. And I think, the office should also think about it. We should be vigilant about our health and safety so that we can stay and deliver on time. 

Photo: Enayatullah Azad/ NRC
Les billedteksten "Når det skjer en krise, må vi handle resolutt for å sikre at andre skal være trygge," sier Murtaza Sarwari, sjåfør for Flyktninghjelpen Afghanistan. Foto: Enayatullah Azad/Flyktninghjelpen

Murtaza Sarwari – sjåfør for Flyktninghjelpen i Afghanistan

Jeg jobbet som vanlig under pandemien. Det var en krisesituasjon, og vi måtte bli værende og gi hjelp til dem som var i nød.

Det var mange mennesker i leirer og landsbyer som trengte vår hjelp og støtte. Det var mange familier som ikke hadde kunnet kjøpe såpe eller sjampo hvis vi ikke hadde vært der for å hjelpe. Det var en viktig grunn for oss til å fortsette arbeidet.

Jeg har jobbet som hjelpearbeider i nesten 15 år og har alltid ønsket å hjelpe mennesker, og dette var en avgjørende tid. Når det skjer en krise, må vi handle resolutt for å sikre at andre skal være trygge. Det er jobben vår som humanitære hjelpearbeidere.

Som sjåfør prøver jeg å gjøre alt jeg kan for å sørge for at kollegaene og familien min blir beskyttet. Jeg desinfiserer meg selv og bilen med dørene låst i 20 minutter to ganger om dagen. Ved å gjøre det beskytter jeg alle i kretsen rundt meg.

Ifrah Ahmed Abbas posing a photo with a group of children during her visit to one of the biggest IDP settlements in Garowe town, Puntland state of Somalia. Photo: Khadar/NRC.
Les billedteksten "I humanitært arbeid gjelder det å jobbe hardt og målrettet. Hvis du er fast bestemt på å oppnå noe, vil du klare det," sier Ifrah Ahmed Abbas, som jobber som assistent med vann, sanitær og hygiene for Flyktninghjelpen i Somalia. Foto: Khadar/Flyktninghjelpen

Ifrah Ahmed Abbas – assistent for vann, sanitær og hygiene for Flyktninghjelpen i Somalia

Jeg ble hjelpearbeider etter å ha sett hvordan sårbare mennesker levde under veldig tøffe forhold i Puntland-regionen i Somalia. De har ikke fått den hjelpen de burde hatt og fortjener et bedre liv som alle andre.

Gjennom arbeidet med Covid-19 møtte vi så mange mennesker som ikke var klar over risikoen med viruset. For dem var det akkurat som en vanlig sykdom, og noen ganger tok de ikke hensyn til hva vi sa, men vi fortsatte å fortelle om risikoen. Til slutt forsto de hvor farlig det var, og vi ga dem hygienesett, såpe og håndsprit slik at de kunne bidra til å redusere spredningen av viruset.

I humanitært arbeid gjelder det å jobbe hardt og målrettet. Hvis du er fast bestemt på å oppnå noe, vil du klare det.

“Together we survive”
NRC Syria, Salma Kasem. 
As COVID-19 started to spread, my biggest fear was the threat that we may not be able to aid people who are mostly in need of our assistance. In that exact moment, when the pandemic was at its peak, I decided to be closer to the people who see us as their ray of hope. Reaching the biggest number of vulnerable people was our motivation to work harder and be the heroes we are destined to be, because in a crisis like this, we are all vulnerable.
Les billedteksten "Vår motivasjon for å jobbe hardt og være de heltene vi bør være, var å kunne hjelpe så mange sårbare mennesker som mulig," sier Salma Kasem, som jobber med beskyttelse for Flyktninghjelpen i Syria. Foto: Flyktninghjelpen

Salma Kasem – hjelpearbeider for Flyktninghjelpen i Syria

Da Covid-19 begynte å spre seg, var min største frykt at vi kanskje ikke kunne hjelpe de menneskene som har størst behov for vår hjelp.

Da pandemien var på topp, bestemte jeg meg for å være nærmere menneskene som ser på oss som sitt håp.

Vår motivasjon for å jobbe hardt og være de heltene vi bør være, var å kunne hjelpe så mange sårbare mennesker som mulig, for i en krise som denne er vi alle sårbare.

Les billedteksten ”Jeg finner motivasjonen i ordtaket: 'Det er ikke noe arbeid som er mer edelt enn å lindre lidelsene til de mest sårbare',” sier Ibrahim Sory Thera, rådgiver for helse og sikkerhet for Flyktninghjelpen i Mali.

Ibrahim Sory Thera – rådgiver for helse og sikkerhet for Flyktninghjelpen i Mali

Koronakrisen påvirket det humanitære arbeidet vårt. Vi måtte utvikle retningslinjer for å håndtere denne situasjonen, slik at vi kunne fortsette å gi nødhjelp. Vi utstyrte de ansatte med masker og hansker, og installerte også utstyr for håndvask.

Det er så mange utfordringer og hindringer vi står overfor. Vi jobber i vanskelig tilgjengelige områder der det er veldig krevende å gi bistand. Det jeg har lært er at vi må sørge for å utvikle metoder slik at vi kan gi hjelp i disse områdene uten å sette sikkerheten til våre ansatte og de vi skal hjelpe i fare.

Jeg finner motivasjonen i ordtaket: ”Det er ikke noe arbeid som er mer edelt enn å lindre lidelsene til de mest sårbare”. Og å gi denne hjelpen er min viktigste motivasjon.

Munira at Kahda IDP settlement - One of the biggest IDP settlements in Mogadishu which hosts more than tens of thousands of internally Displaced People (IDPs). Photo: Abdulkadir/NRC.
Les billedteksten "Da det første koronatilfellet ble bekreftet i Somalia, sto jeg opp for å sloss mot dette livsfarlige viruset fordi jeg visste hvor raskt det kunne spre seg og hvor lett det kunne ta livet av folk," sier Munira Mohamud Ali, som jobber som assistent med vann, sanitær og hygiene for Flyktninghjelpen Somalia. Foto: Abdulkadir/Flyktninghjelpen

Munira Mohamud Ali – assistent for vann, sanitær og hygiene for Flyktninghjelpen i Somalia

Jeg er født og oppvokst under de væpnede konfliktene i Somalia, i en tid med tilbakevendende tørke, flom og piratvirksomhet. Jeg har vært vitne til at enormt mange somaliere har blitt drevet på flukt og har hatt desperat behov for humanitær hjelp. Jeg ønsket å gjøre noe for å hjelpe sårbare lokalsamfunn og bidra til at de får et bedre liv.

Da det første koronatilfellet ble bekreftet i Somalia, sto jeg opp for å sloss mot dette livsfarlige viruset fordi jeg visste hvor raskt det kunne spre seg og hvor lett det kunne ta livet av folk

Se for deg en leir hvor folk bor i små provisoriske boliger, deler vannposter og toaletter og hvor det ikke er tilgang til rent vann. Det var åpenbart at dette ville bidra til at viruset spredde seg. Og ikke nok med det, det var heller ikke noe utstyr for å teste om folk var smittet av korona i leirene. Dette gjorde at jeg lå våken om natten og fikk meg til å jobbe hardt for å innføre forebyggende tiltak og øke bevisstheten blant somaliere for å redde liv.

Les billedteksten "Jeg var en del av gruppen av ansatte i Flyktninghjelpen som bodde i flyktningleiren Zaatari i 30 dager under korona-nedstengningen," sier Renad Al-Mahasneh, bygningstekniker for Flyktninghjelpen i Jordan. Foto: Leen Qashu/Flyktninghjelpen

Renad Al-Mahasneh – bygningstekniker for Flyktninghjelpen i Jordan

Jeg brenner veldig for å hjelpe mennesker i nød. Jeg har alltid ønsket å gjøre humanitært arbeid og jobbe i en humanitær organisasjon, og jeg begynte som frivillig i lokale frivillige organisasjoner før jeg ble hjelpearbeider.

Jeg var en del av gruppen av ansatte i Flyktninghjelpen som bodde i flyktningleiren Zaatari i 30 dager under korona-nedstengningen, da ingen fikk lov til å reise inn eller ut av leiren. Det var den eneste måten vi kunne fortsette å hjelpe de som bodde i leiren, blant annet ved å dele ut hygienesett og kontantstøtte.

Det var en utfordrende opplevelse, spesielt å forlate foreldrene mine og hjemmet mitt i en så usikker og vanskelig tid og tilpasse seg de provisoriske boforholdene. Men det bidro til å gjøre meg sterkere og har gjort meg bedre forberedt på utfordringer jeg måtte møte i fremtiden. Jeg var veldig stolt av å være en del av dette arbeidet og hjelpe flyktninger i nød.

Living the life of an orphan is not easy to go through across the globe specifically in Afghanistan where civil war has been making orphans of many Afghan children. I was too young- five and half years old or maximum six when I lost my father due to ongoing fighting at Kabul in 1990. We- my 25 years old young widow mother, four years old brother (Ali Daryosh), two years old sister (Samea) and a three months’ baby brother (AliNaweed) as well as my kind and brave (late) grandmother) were left out alone to survive during those difficult times. 
The sounds of the rockets and firings negatively affected my childhood that even now I think those sounds are reviving in head specially while passing the location where my father was killed and this is still really disturbing and unpleasant feeling for all of us. 
After my father’s death who was a military officer, we could not resist to stay in our homeland because of the fear that we might lost our lives if we stay living here. Therefore, I was forced to spend my childhood away from Afghanistan and to live in Pakistan where were named and called “Afghan Poor Refugees”. I spent my whole childhood hearing this term not knowing his actual meaning because I though humans can live anywhere on this planet as it is ours. 
Living a refugee life dependent on financial assistance of relatives (my aunts and uncle) was an unpleasant experience of my childhood and this feeling got worsened when I reached puberty age. At the age of 10 (grade four) I started learning embroidery from my mother who was doing it to enable us to continue our schooling because it was my father’s dream that his children would be educated and support other’s one day. So,	to help my mother, I started earning at an incredibly young age and I had good customers who brought children related stuff orders on regular basis. Fortunately, irrespective of current situation that most of the children and youth do not continue their education once they get into working as bread winners, it helped me to continue my education and fulfill my needs which was not easy for my mother to do for all of us at a time. From that time, I got the sense of being independent and support those who are in need. 
Returning to my country after twelve years when I was 17 years’ old, I opened a new chapter of my life.  I completed my final year of schooling in Kabul after being returned from Pakistan. Unlike Pakistan, here we had our own house to live though it was partially damaged during those years. I and my siblings continued our education in order to make our parent’s dream come true.
After completion of grade 12th, I started working in a French organization working for street children as Social Worker. Though it was a short journey, it innates the feeling of working for poor and vulnerable people. 
In 2004, I started pursuing my graduation in Kabul Education University in Natural Science Faculty. During the four years, I ranked good position in my studies which was really motivating for me and my siblings. 
After completing my graduation, for almost three years I worked in microfinance field as a Manager supporting small business/entrepreneurship loans for women. This was the starting point of knowing what gender discrimination and domestic violence were, as we were dealing with and supporting many vulnerable women. It was really disappointing to me to see women were earning, had no power to spend their income and have financial independency. But it was really challenging for me at a young age (22 years old) to change these women’s lives. However, I can link my struggle for promoting women rights with those years of working because continuously I was thinking about what and how I could do anything for such women. 
When I was in my social circles, I was discussing those issues with friends to get their opinions. Everyone had different views on; some of them linked it with existing cultural practices, some linked it with poverty and others were linking it to low level of education and awareness. 
During 2010, I changed my working field and went back to education because I was enjoying working for young children. Therefore, I joined Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) as a Senior Education Officer. In this organization I molded myself differently professionally and personally because beside performing my job related responsibilities, opportunities were also given to me to be a change agent in the field of promoting women’s rights, female staff career development and raising their voice at the organizational level. Therefore, I led many abroad females only study visits for female staff who were even did not attend a single training session without male escorts from their families inside Afghanistan. These trainings and visits resulted in building their self-confidence and professional development. Later on, these trained female staff contributed in improving education quality in Community Based Education(CBE) and public schools through training teachers and creating child friendly spaces (Development of teaching and learning materials and teacher’s guidelines). As part of female teachers and staff career development initiatives, I also contributed in designing a specific program for those women and adult girls who dropped out of schools and could not complete their secondary education due to marriage, migration and cultural barriers. Through this program, we supported these women and girls to complete their 12th grade education and continue their higher education as well as increase female teachers in CBE classes. Achieving these goals was accompanied by many challenges and one of those challenges that really hurt and at the same time strengthen my steps towards fighting for women rights, was perceiving female employees less competent and qualified for any task. This is still a common perception among Afghans that females are not made for outside work rather they have to rear child, cook, clean, wash and be a reproductive machine for increasing generation. 
While working with SCA, I was also working on my own capacity development in order to be able to better perform my roles and responsibilities and proof that we are multi talent and can handle both professional and personal works. 
On the other hand, pursuing my post-graduation in the field of education was one my dreams and life goals. Therefore, I left my job and family behind and travelled to India where I started pursuing my post-graduation in Early Child Development in Jamia Millia Islamia University- New Delhi. 
During my studies as part of practical assignments, I worked with vulnerable children living in slums and Jamia Millia Islamia Pre-school where I gained knowledge and skills on working with these children. 
Living abroad for two years taught me how to be stronger and have faith on myself to struggle with barriers. 
After completion of my studies and return to my homeland, I rejoined SCA with fresh energy and strong vision to work for most vulnerable and proof that females can also work in senior positions and we are not less competent than male. 
Unlike previous time, I preferred to be more open and outspoken in order to find my place in senior management. I took active part in strategic discussions and contributed to organizational development and this active participation led to given a semi managerial position in an organization where women had less chance to show up.  
This time, I worked with more energy and potential as I did not want to let down those people who believed in me and handed over this role to me. 
In everyone’s life a stage will come where desires for development and new learnings peaks up and same happened to me too. After almost three years, I left SCA in 2019 and joined NRC as Education Coordinator for an emergency programme “Education First Phase Response”. 
Becoming a humanitarian was a major change in my professional life as I came to this field by accident. I taught education would be the same whether it is in development field or in humanitarian field. But I came to know the actual differences during this one year and three months. By entering this field, I came across to learn from day to day routine programming and try them out in the light existing SOPs and policies. Shifting from development mindset to humanitarian (emergency) was possible for me with the support and guidance of NRC expertise within the country and across the region. The availability of global system and resources made easy for me to overcome this change with positive results. 
Starting my role as Education Coordinator and then proceeding with taking advisory role as an acting Education Advisor and now leading the programme as acting Education Specialist are the evidence that I have smoothly adjusted myself in the humanitarian field. This journey was easy for me because my childhood was affected by conflict and I spent half of my life as refugee so I could better understand the needs and challenges a conflict affected and displaced child face during the forced displacement. My past experience helped me to work hard and tirelessly in order to support the most vulnerable children in my country during hard times. 
Becoming a humanitarian taught me to be ready for ups and downs as well as to always expect the unexpected such as COVID19 pandemic that changed the entire global ecosystem. This pandemic is making everyone’s especially humanitarian workers lives challenging. 
When COVID19 hit Afghanistan, everything changed for me; I found myself in a very critical position where I was surrounded with a lot of concerns and uncertainty both in personal and professional life. As elder child of my family I had to take care of my family especially my mother because she is a diabetic patient and at the same time I had responsibility of leading a huge programme at NRC which was not easy for a person who has not experienced such a pandemic in my life. 
On 16th March, all schools got closed due to the pandemic outbreak in Afghanistan as result of which more than 40,000 beneficiaries seemed to be deprived of educational services. As leading person, I pressurized myself too much to find an alternative way to reach out our students during this difficult time. Therefore, we started approaching other partners and MoE to work on an emergency response plan focusing on different learning pathways. 
In close coordination and collaboration with EiEWG/MoE and other partners, Afghanistan MoE Response Plan was developed and endorsed by Presidential Office. Soon after the endorsement, a taskforce was established to work alternative modalities to reach out children through distance learning (TV & Radios), Self-Learning and Small Group Learning.  
NRC was part of Self- Learning Material production taskforce; all partner members were trying hard to prepare the learning materials along with required tools (currently NRC is leading this taskforce as of 31st May and before that ACTED led it). 
On 7th April, NRC Afghanistan offices got closed with work from home approach. Working from home added another layer of challenges. Mental instability, programming adaptation, unavailability of staff due to health issues, increased load of work and on top poor internet connection made the life tougher. Fortunately, despite of all these challenges team spirit and team work enabled us especially myself to adjust programming in response to COVID19 and started implementation of alternative education through distribution of self- learning materials to 97% of NRC target students. It worth mentioning that the spirit our staff had to support vulnerable children during hard times made this possible to continue our work though most of us were infected by this virus, we kept working during isolation period as well. This gave us extra energy not to surrender and keep going as before. 
Photo: Enayatullah Azad / NRC
Les billedteksten "Innsatsviljen våre ansatte viste for å hjelpe sårbare barn i en vanskelig tid, gjorde det mulig å fortsette arbeidet vårt," sier Saeeda Shirzad, fungerende utdanningsspesialist for Flyktninghjelpen i Afghanistan. Foto: Enayatullah Azad/NRC

Saeeda Shirzad – fungerende utdanningsspesialist for Flyktninghjelpen i Afghanistan

Jeg var nødt til å tilbringe barndommen borte fra Afghanistan, i Pakistan. Da jeg kom tilbake til landet mitt da jeg var 17 år, fullførte jeg skolen og fikk jobb som sosialarbeider og jobbet med gatebarn. Jeg jobbet med økonomi og utdanning i mange år, fram til jeg begynte i Flyktninghjelpen i 2019. Etter å ha tilbrakt halvparten av livet mitt som flyktning, forstår jeg behovene og utfordringene som barn på flukt har.

Da Covid-19 rammet Afghanistan, endret alt seg for meg. Jeg hadde en veldig viktig stilling hvor jeg var omgitt av bekymringer og usikkerhet. Men til tross for alle utfordringene, var vi i stand til å tilpasse arbeidet vårt og tilby alternativ utdanning til tusenvis av elever som nå studerer på egen hånd.

Innsatsviljen våre ansatte viste for å hjelpe sårbare barn i en vanskelig tid, gjorde det mulig å fortsette arbeidet vårt. Mange av oss ble smittet av viruset, men vi fortsatte å jobbe selv i periodene hvor vi måtte være i isolasjon. Dette ga oss ekstra energi til å fortsette og ikke gi opp.