"My work fills me with enthusiasm and generates a sense of responsibility within me. I feel responsible for the displaced people and for fulfilling their needs.
I work in the field and meet the community committee representatives to collect information about the needs of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). I monitor their access to facilities and services, and I support them with referrals and response mechanisms if there is an incident. I ensure that relevant protection matters are brought to the attention of protection agencies and competent authorities, providing information to the population on their rights and obligations.
I face challenges as a woman due to cultural and traditional norms, especially on the West Coast. The area in which I work is considered a conservative location with a small number of working females. In the beginning, the local authorities and IDP community representatives refused to work with me, and they did not agree to share any information.
With a lot of hard work, I dealt with everyone with patience and respect. Slowly, I proved that I was competent and gained the trust of the community, the local authorities, and my counterparts, who began to cooperate.
It was unfamiliar to the people here to see me attending all male meetings, and me traveling by myself between governments as a woman along with my male colleagues.
To me, it was a motivational challenge as a female. I wanted to prove the opposite. Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean that I should be restricted to my home only. I was patient and the results of my work started to show. I worked as hard as my male colleagues and maybe even harder. I was very happy to see the response from the authorities when my work was being recognized, especially in the humanitarian sector, and also being one of the few female representatives in the area with visible impact in the community I work in. My team were also very supportive and thanks to them, I am here today.
From my point of view as a female, women are essential actors specifically in the humanitarian work and in the free labor fields in general. The role of women is a constant challenge. I took that challenge and proved that I can overcome it. I moved from a junior position to a higher position: I started as a volunteer and today, I am a team leader which reflects my success and growth.
What makes me happy is having my tasks completed on time. I am organized and I stick to my time lines, work plans, targets and I follow policies. When I look back at the impact of my work, I am able to change people’s lives. I reach people who haven’t been assisted before, achieving my personal goals, practicing my English and improving my language, influencing other girls and inspiring them to be ambitious. It makes me feel very happy.”
These stories are recollections of human experience in the lives of refugees and displaced persons – present and past. Their stories are the strongest proof that they are just as empowered human beings just as you and I.
In 1997, Nicole fled Eritrea to avoid military conscription. Her story is a story of female empowerment and strength. Coming to a new country, Nicole had to overcome the challenges of being “othered” due to her birth name, Rahwa.
Sara published her first poetry collection earlier in 2021. It tells the stories of her upbringing between two cultures, seeking her Palestinian roots, and trying to understand her cultural identity through a generational perspective.