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All We Can is celebrating World Humanitarian Day. This is held on the 19 August every year. The United Nations established this day to recognise and celebrate those who work in humanitarian service, often risking their lives to help those in need. This day also advocates for the safety of humanitarian aid workers and for the survival and wellbeing of those living in these dangerous crises.
This year, on World Humanitarian Day, the focus is on women who work as humanitarians throughout the world. For All We Can, this brought a very special woman we work with to mind. Rem Him Mawi Nute has been working with Rohingya women in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She has been working there since December 2018. Rem works in a women’s safe
space All We Can is supporting. She explains the wide range of activities and services offered to women and girls in the safe space. These include workshops discussing trafficking, hygiene, menstruation and gender based violence. They teach the women a range of skills, from learning how to read and write to making crafts that can be sold as decorations for wedding ceremonies. There are psychosocial sessions for the women and girls and counselling is also provided. Rem even mentioned a meditation session for the women, she says, “It helps them focus on how they feel in the safe space. What their feelings are inside.”
We asked Rem about her job in the safe space, she said “I do love my job!” When she walks into work she says the women “call out to me and shout out ‘sister, sister’. They also call me the ‘little one’. I really enjoy that!”
Rem revealed as a humanitarian aid worker, “There are a lot of challenges… But there are always challenges anywhere you work.” She discussed how it was difficult to work with a lack of infrastructure, no air conditioning in 45 degree heat and how sometimes she has little patience because progression is so slow. Rem also talked about the Rohingya women sharing stories with her, “You see, sometimes when they share their past they cry. They cry. And when they see me they feel some happiness and they smile. I feel proud that I am working here and that they can smile.”
It is evident to us that Rem has a strong and special bond with these women. The refugee camps in Bangladesh are a dangerous and difficult place for women to live. Most women also experienced trauma in Myanmar, so it is important that these women have this safe space, and people like Rem that they can talk to and trust.
Rem’s faith is what motivates her and inspires her with her work, she says, “As Christians we are followers of Jesus and that means we are called to follow the path he made. To walk like he did. And he helped people, all kinds of people. He even washed their dirty feet. So likewise we are to do as he did and to help people.”
Rem’s hope for the Rohnigya people is that “They will lead themselves one day, I think there is hope that someday they will lead themselves to a healthy and happy life.” She also requests that we continue to support the Rohingya. She explained that they are people with no land and no identity, yet of course they are human and made by God, just like each of us. Rem is a big believer in the strength of our shared humanity.
On World Humanitarian Day, as an All We Can supporter you can help Rem, the Rohnigya women and others by praying that:
You can also give to the work we deliver in the Rohingya refugee camps at allwecan.org.uk/Rohingya