World Humanitarian Day: CARE honours its humanitarian heroes

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Over the last decade direct attacks on aid workers have increased in frequency and severity/New CARE report provides first-hand look at the passion and struggles of aid workers worldwide

Geneva, 14 August 2014. On World Humanitarian Day, CARE International honours aid workers worldwide who risk their lives supporting people affected by disasters and conflict.

Held annually on August 19, World Humanitarian Day is meant to highlight those who have died in the line of duty. Over the last decade, direct attacks on aid workers have increased in alarming frequency with an estimated 152 humanitarians having paid the ultimate sacrifice in 2013.

“We have so many heroes in the field, working 24 hours a day, doing fantastic work,” says Barbara Jackson, Humanitarian Director for CARE International. “In the face of tremendous challenges and often horrific impact on human life and communities, these individuals selflessly push aside their internal reactions and. discomfort, working to  save people’s lives and to help. them get back on their feet.”

For a fresh insight into the motivations that drive aid workers and the challenges that they face, CARE interviewed staff in a number of countries including South Sudan, Niger, Yemen, Kenya, Jordan and the Philippines. Our new report, “Passionate to Save Lives: Conversations with CARE Humanitarians,” is a portrait of what it means to be an aid worker.

“Being a humanitarian aid worker is a lifestyle; to me it is a calling – not just a job. There is often no sharp distinction between work and the rest of your life, between your interests, your passions and your job description,” says Dorothy Akinyi Muchaki, Health Project Manager for CARE South Sudan.

As rewarding that this choice of profession ca be, it can also be. be an extremely dangerous choice.

Many CARE staff live under harsh conditions, working in refugee camps or areas destroyed by conflict or natural disasters. Most recently, CARE staff in Gaza had to seek safety from the airstrikes, fearing for the lives of their families and friends. In South Sudan, a number of.. CARE staff have been living for the past year in UN-protected areas due to the ongoing violence unfolding across their homeland.

CARE is also proud to support the global UN World Humanitarian Day campaign honouring “Humanitarian Heroes” worldwide. This effort pays tribute to aid workers, including many CARE staff, telling their stories of life on the frontlines of some of the world’s worst and often forgotten humanitarian crises.

“Humanitarians continue to be relied upon to provide crucial life-saving aid amidst extremely difficult and stressful circumstances,” says Jackson. “The risks these people face are substantial – death, injuries, kidnapping. It’s absolutely essential that all parties respect the impartiality of aid workers so we can continue to help those most in need.”

Read CARE’s report: Passionate to Save Lives: Conversations with CARE Humanitarians

You can find a long version including more than 30 staff profile here.

Media contact: Sabine Wilke, Media Director CARE Germany-Luxemburg, wilke@care.de, phone: +49 (0) 228 975 63 46, mobile: +49 (0) 151 147 805 98

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.

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