World Humanitarian Day: “I Want To Do This My Whole Life”

Humanitarian. Adjective, noun.

(a person who is) involved in or connected with improving people’s lives and reducing suffering.

Today is World Humanitarian Day. Established in 2009 by the United Nations, today we celebrate humanitarians – sharing many thanks to the people who have committed their lives to helping others. This work is not easy. Every day, humanitarian aid workers are faced with human suffering.

At Medical Teams International, our staff and volunteers number nearly 2,000. Our team, made up of nurses, program managers, warehouse workers, dental professionals and more, all have one thing in common: we are called to serve others through our jobs. God calls us to love the vulnerable, to dare to love like Jesus. Because every person deserves the chance for a better life. Because every person – no matter where they are or how desperate their situation – matters.

I’d like to introduce you to a few of our incredible staff and volunteers around the world.

Gladis

Gladis, Guatemala
Gladis is all smiles!

This is Gladis! She works in the Medical Teams’ field office in Coban, Guatemala, where she coordinates our volunteer teams and their construction of water and latrine systems. Gladis is incredibly warm and resourceful, helping with whatever project needs it, including sometimes sorting and distributing the large supplies shipments sent to Guatemala.

Brian

Brian, Uganda
Brian, faithfully at his post in front of a Medical Teams clinic.

Meet Brian. As an Infection, Prevention and Control Officer, he is on the front lines at a Medical Teams quarantine center in Uganda. The center hosts refugee families who are undergoing a two-week isolation period to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Brian shows kindness and care to the families, explaining “We always comfort them by reminding them that they are going to be okay and will return home soon.”

Redwan

Redwan, Bangladesh
Redwan proudly identifies himself as a humanitarian.

This is Redwan! Redwan works in a Medical Teams clinic in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. He has many responsibilities, including registering patients and providing health care education. After two years working for us, he shares “Now I know how to work as a humanitarian. I know how to comfort people and I want to continue to do this my whole life.”

Kathi

Kathi, USA
Kathi at a recent COVID-19 Testing Clinic in the heat of summer.

Meet Medical Teams’ Dental Team MVP, Kathi. A volunteer for over 20 years, Kathi has the Medical Teams’ DNA – she’s ready to jump in and go when there is a need in the world for her skills. Whether it’s across an ocean, at a clinic in downtown Portland or supporting at a COVID-19 testing clinic, Kathi makes the people she meets feel special and cared for in every situation she walks into.

Shamsa

Shamsa, Lebanon
Shamsa within her camp, happy to ensure the health care of mothers and babies.

Say hello to Shamsa! A Syrian refugee turned Senior Refugee Outreach Volunteer, Shamsa works within her community in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Shamsa beams as she shares about the confidence she’s gained from being a volunteer, helping her neighbors monitor their health. In a place where it’s hard to have hope, this job gives her purpose, knowledge, and a meaningful way to help other women like herself.

Andrew

Andrew, Uganda
Country Director Andrew, on left, with clinic staff in Uganda.

Meet Andrew. Andrew is the Country Director of our Uganda program. In 2014, Andrew was instrumental in our response to the Ebola crisis in Liberia. He and his family have lived in Africa since then, and his leadership is a solid mix of compassion, curiosity and thoroughness.

We Are Not Alone

There are many more stories to be told about the staff and volunteers at Medical Teams. As we work tirelessly to make the world a better, more equitable place, may we remember: we are not alone.


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