Honoring our Colleagues on World Humanitarian Day

Humanitarians around the world have devoted their lives to the needs of others. Once a year, on World Humanitarian Day, the world takes time to honor them.

Though it should not be limited to one day, World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to acknowledge those who – oftentimes at the risk of their own safety – go to vulnerable and unstable situations to offer their expertise. The conditions are likely less than ideal, and the hours are long. These are the people who partner with local communities, governments, or NGOs to find sustainable, equitable solutions to some of the world’s most challenging issues.

As today is also World Photo Day, we are taking a moment to honor and thank these brave individuals by sharing their images and their stories. We have asked our member organizations and partners to send us photos of the people and projects that inspire them. Their responses are below.

We know the work is crucial – but we cannot forget that so too are the people behind it. To our colleagues, our partners, our friends: here’s to you.

Honoring Humanitarians

IMA World Health

(Photo Courtesy of IMA World Health/Serunkuma Luigi)

Dr. Oleny Amum is a medical supervisor who supports IMA World Health's OFDA-funded work in Kodok in Upper Nile in South Sudan. Amum supports the emergency health program for internally displaced persons. He is a dedicated staff member. He has supported the project diligently for about three years. In rough terrain, he walks, uses a quad bike, and canoes to get where he needs to go. He sometimes also travels at night in insecure areas to ensure internally displaced people get the medical services they desperately need. Read more about Amum.

International Medical Corps

(Photo Courtesy of International Medical Corps)

Yolande Longang began working with International Medical Corps in 2014 as a social worker in camps housing Central Africans who fled civil war to Cameroon. Her passion for working with women and girls led Longang to serve today as International Medical Corps’ gender-based violence (GBV) program manager. She spends her days investigating and following up on cases, while also working to slowly change cultural attitudes around rape, assault, and early marriage. “When we first started working in the camps, some people said that International Medical Corps came to ‘take away their wives,’” Longang said. “Now they see us as educators and seek us out. I can see the attitudes changing.” Learn more about International Medical Corps.

Lutheran World Relief

(Photo courtesy of Lutheran World Relief, lwr.org.)

Subashis Roy is Lutheran World Relief’s technical advisor for emergency capacity building. He’s worked with Lutheran World Relief for more than 12 years, initially as a member of the Lutheran World Relief India office, then expanding his role to a global level within the emergency operations unit. While Roy’s primary responsibility is to provide training to ensure quality and accountability in Lutheran World Relief’s humanitarian response programs, when the Nepal earthquake struck on April 25, 2015 he was immediately deployed to the area and arrived within three days of the quake. As any other aid worker, Roy worked almost around the clock to deliver food and non-food items to families affected by the quake. At one point, Roy and his team braved a more than 12 hour drive in rough terrain and challenging weather to reach a remote village in Lamjung District to deliver aid. Lutheran World Relief was the first responders to reach this community. Learn more about Lutheran World Relief.

Mercy-USA for Aid and Development

(Photo courtesy of  Mercy-USA for Aid and Development)

Mercy-USA for Aid and Development field team manager, Zein, a young woman who marked her 26th birthday two days ago in Aleppo, Syria is a tough survivor. A teacher in Aleppo before the war, she has survived many dangerous situations as a humanitarian worker. Tiny in stature but strong in spirit, Zein joined our team in 2014 and has been supervising the monthly food basket distribution to thousands of poor families in Aleppo. She’s a warm and supportive female presence for the thousands of women and children who depend on our humanitarian aid for survival. Learn more about Mercy-USA for Aid and Development.

World Concern

(Photo courtesy of  Taylor Jashinsky/World Concern)

U Zau Hkawng is more than just a skilled motor bike driver and aspiring professor, he is a devoted humanitarian making a difference in some of Myanmar's northernmost communities.​ Working as a field officer for World Concern overseeing child protection activities in extremely remote villages near the Chinese border, U Zau Hkawng is motivated to see entire families transformed and empowered by the knowledge of child rights, and child abuse and trafficking prevention. Although he only gets to see his own family—a 10-month old daughter and supportive wife—every three months, it is worth it for U Zau Hkawng, who says that the children in the villages are “just like family.”Learn more about World Concern.

World Food Program

(A colleague at World Food Program USA recommended this excerpt from her blog.)

(Photo courtesy of  WFP/Photolibrary)

My name is Murielle. I was born and raised in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. I was the youngest of a family of four girls. All my sisters were nurses and they never ceased to tell me about their work when I was growing up, and I told myself that I, too, would like to do something to improve the lives of needy people. I joined World Food Program at the end of 2012, after applying for a vacancy in the nutrition program that was launched after the big 2010 earthquake. […] To personally witness the difference in someone’s life after they have been assisted… there is no better compensation for one’s work. It gives me the satisfaction of a job well done. Read World Food Program's full blog on Murielle.

World Vision

(Photo Courtesy of Ralph Baydoun/World Vision 2016)

Khalil Sleiman is from Lebanon and was in the past displaced by conflict. Now he is World Vision’s Iraq response manager and is able to use his experience to relate to those he serves. “I know their feelings. I was in their shoes once…I lived the moment when I only had ‘a dream’ to escape reality.” In July 2016, World Vision provided 4,212 primary health consultations through six health clinics in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Learn more about World Vision.

Recognizing Humanitarian Projects

Project Hope

(Photo Courtesy of Project Hope)

In Nepal in 2015, Project Hope sent 15 medical volunteers who helped care for 1,522 patients in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes. The volunteers were on the ground when the second earthquake struck. This photo depicts a volunteer, who was actually a native Nepalese, comforting a patient injured in the first earthquake, who was frightened and traumatized by yet a  second strong earthquake shaking the ground again. Read more about Project Hope’s humanitarians.


(Photo Courtesy of John Torres/NCBA CLUSA)

NCBA CLUSA is supporting communities in building resilience by improving local governance, empowering women, teaching new farm techniques, supporting diverse sources of income, and linking rural businesses to markets. As the women from the Albarka Women’s Group know, this holistic and systematic approach helps the most vulnerable individuals and communities plan for, recover from, and overcome the negative effects of shocks and stressors in the their lives, ultimately lessening dependence on humanitarian aid. Read more about the Albarka Women’s Group.