World Humanitarian Day

Celebrating humanitarians worldwide

Margaret Abuk, community healthcare worker, Majak Aher IPD camp, Twic County

This World Humanitarian Day, meet three MSF staff members who personify humanitarian values every day as they provide care to people facing incredibly challenging circumstances.

Fatima, India

Photographs by Deepak Bhatia & Sapna Rani

Fatima, the first and only female e-rickshaw driver in Jahangirpuri, Delhi, decided to join MSF’s team at the Umeed Ki Kiran clinic in 2016. Since then, she has provided a vital service to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV): giving them a personal escort to and from the clinic.

MSF’s Umeed Ki Kiran clinic provides comprehensive medical and psychological support to SGBV survivors free of cost. Although our teams have provided care to thousands of women over the years, surveys indicate that we are only seeing a fraction of the women who need our help.

“I belong in the same community as them (patients and survivors),” Fatima says, “and it gives me immense satisfaction to be able to aid them in any manner. I have lived the same trauma and faced intense violence in my life. Despite living in the same community, I feel extremely fortunate that I am on the other side of the situation where I can lead them to any sort of help.”

As a well-known community member and a survivor of SGBV herself, Fatima provides a comforting presence for survivors who might be hesitating to seek the care they need. Every day, Fatima drives her e-rickshaw into town, dispensing crucial health advice and providing a personal escort for survivors to safely attend the clinic.

"As soon as they sit in my e-rickshaw, I tell them ‘ki rona nahi hai, himmat rakhna hai and aage badhna hai,’" she says. That means, “don't cry, have faith, and stay strong and focus on moving forward and healing yourself.”

Marwan, Syria

Photographs by Omar Haj Kadour

Marwan, an MSF logistics supervisor, was part of our emergency response to deadly earthquakes in northwestern Syria in February 2023. Like 80 percent of MSF’s staff, Marwan lives in the community he serves. So on the morning of the quakes, he had to ensure his own family was safe before donning his white vest.

“After making sure that my family was safe at home, we went back to the office. As logistics, we started coordinating the vehicles and sending medical kits to hospitals.”

In northwest Syria, nine out of 10 people displaced by the earthquakes had already been displaced by the war at least once before. Many have found temporary shelter in camps, but they still lack stability as well as even the most basic necessity for survival..

MSF is running mobile clinics to these camps to ensure access to vital health care and services. In the months since the earthquakes, we have distributed 111,000 relief items across 100 camps, and worked with local authorities to build and rehabilitate local water and hygiene infrastructure.

Dedicated local staff members like Marwan are an integral part of making this work possible. Even as they have endured the same crises as their patients, they are committed to helping the people who need it most.

“We must not stop,” Marwan says of his emergency response work, “if we have a crisis or a major event, we must not stand idle. We must respond to assist our people.”

Margaret, South Sudan

Photographs by Florence Dozol

When violence broke out in South Sudan’s Agok region in February 2022, Margaret and her three daughters were forced to flee for safety. Like roughly 40,000 others, Margaret’s family headed southward to Twic County. There they settled in Majak Aher displacement camp, where access to essential resources is low and the risk of malnutrition and disease outbreaks is high.

One year later, Margaret is now one of two MSF-trained community health workers providing basic health services in the camp. This includes treating patients for simple cases of malaria, diarrhea, and malnutrition.

Since the conflict erupted, MSF has run mobile clinics to displacement camps, distributed relief items, and constructed latrines and water points to promote hygiene. In August of 2023, our work shifted to a comprehensive offer of medical care through the support of an 86-bed hospital in Mayen-Abun, two health posts, and four sites in displaced camps that provide healthcare services by trained community health workers like Margaret. However, needs in South Sudan remain high.

“When we arrived, it was MSF who helped us,” Margaret says, “but now we are lacking blankets, mosquito nets, mats, food, and water as well.”

Your support makes our humanitarian work possible

The work performed by these dedicated humanitarians and nearly 63,000 other MSF staff members worldwide is made largely possible by the unrestricted support of generous independent donors like you. Your support keeps MSF independent, impartial, and neutral, so we can go where we are needed most and put aid first, regardless of the circumstances.

As urgent needs continue to arise in more than 70 countries, we need consistent, reliable support to ensure we can provide lifesaving care today while staying ready to quickly respond to sudden emergencies tomorrow.