Honoring Aid Workers for World Humanitarian Day

In a conflict zone like Palestine and other such places in the world journalists, doctors, nurses and teachers were and are sometimes mindlessly attacked for the simple satisfaction they find in serving their communities. World Humanitarian Day, August 19, is a day to remember and recognize such journalists, doctors, nurses and so on, who support and assist those less fortunate in the world for no other reason but to contribute to the greater good. Humanitarian aid workers help other people and save lives by sacrificing time and security of their own lives for the belief that all human beings have the right to live peaceful and secure lives.

The theme for 2012’s World Humanitarian Day is “I Was Here”, so I want to take this chance to tell TYO supporters that I too am here to help create a better future and safer environment for Palestinian children. This day marks a new day to renew my commitment – as for all humanitarian workers – to stand by the cause of seeing human rights and life prevail. This is my promise and dedication for children enrolled at TYO and beyond.

I often find children wandering in the streets with worn, too-small, dirty clothes, broken sandals, and junk food in hand. Recently I noticed two children in our neighborhood carrying several pieces of wood past the TYO gate, and followed them to their destination. There I found them using the wood pieces to construct a home under a tree on the TYO playground. It immediately occurred to me that the boys are unconsciously aware that the streets are not a safe place for them to aimlessly roam for hours on end. Because they’re in search of a safe and warm environment their survival instinct has brought them to create their own. As helpless children all they require are basic needs of proper food, shelter, clothing and love.

Though situations such as this one often arise and are angering, they serve as a reminder for my purpose as a humanitarian worker. In a moment of rashness one might want to vent their frustrations to children’s parents, or to the neighbors who also see the children alone on the streets and do nothing to help. But on second thought it becomes clear that the better option is involving such children, indifferent community members and parents in TYO’s programs to offer them awareness and alternatives to help improve their lives.

Home is meant to be a haven for security and warmth – the center of everyone’s life. Home environments and family are instrumental in shaping one’s attitude, awareness, and decisions she/he make. At home one should find family support and unconditional love, which are essential in helping children find their way in life because a home means more than just four walls, a floor and ceiling.

It is an honor to realize that the humanitarian workers at TYO and have provided the love and support to children to feel it is safe enough to be their home, but my commitment extends beyond that to ensure that the have the same feeling in the comfort of their own home and with their own family.

I can confidently speak on behalf of aid workers when I say that we understand the human desire to live in a better world, but this will not be so without any effort. To create better futures for our children we will face huge challenge and barriers, especially in my community where I am ridiculed at times and rejected for goals that many consider idealist. This is a struggle I am willing to endure because if I do not reach for my ideals and dreams then how can I expect my children, Palestine’s next generation to do so?

This post is dedicated to the hardworking humanitarian workers around the globe, who share in my struggles daily to cultivate a better place for all of us to grow. I sincerely thank you.

-Suhad Suhad Jabi is the Psychosocial Program Manager at TYO.