World Humanitarian Day – celebrating those making a better world

Each year, CWS highlights those who diligently serve humankind as aid workers.  The UN marks World Humanitarian Day in order "to honor all humanitarian... personnel who have lost their lives in the cause of duty and those who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause."

We asked our staff to answer two questions:

"In your work, how do you ensure quality and dignity in the goods/services you offer clients?"

Don Tatlock

In working with local partners, I think partnership is one of our strengths.  When local families are empowered by our partners to be involved in all aspects of the program activities, this ownership allows for the families themselves, and within their own culture, to be actors in their own development and change and ensure a dignified way for the families to be actors and promoters of their own development.  My role is to accompany our partners as they work also in accompaniment with local families and communities.

Don Tatlock, CWS Latin America & the Caribbean

Ali Al Sudani

We seek consciously to treat our refugee clients with compassion, humility and respect.  We provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services.  We show clients that we are fully aware of the hardships they went through, and that they can come to us to help solve their problems.

Ali Al Sudani, Director, Refugee Services, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, a CWS refugee resettlement affiliate


We try to be connected with them and show them they are important to us by showing respect, making them comfortable, and treating each family the way we want to be treated.  For example, I referred a former client – a survivor of the Haiti earthquake – for trauma counseling and just went with him to translate for his psychological and medical evaluation.  That provided comfort to him and showed him he’s valued.

Sounedy Amedee, Program Coordinator, Church World Service Haitian Family Services Program, Palm Beach County, Fla.


We always make sure that the HIV and AIDS information we share is correct with respect to local context.  Some beneficiaries then realized that it’s important to talk about sex and HIV and AIDS without feeling culturally offended.

Titin Rejeki, CWS Indonesia’s Gender and HIV and AIDS Advisor

"What keeps you coming to work day after day despite the enormous challenges you face as a humanitarian aid worker?"


The work we do can be routine but each day I come to work, I remember that for the majority of the refugees this process is their last hope.  The joy I feel when a case I interviewed during Resettlement Support Center interviews is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or when at the end of the interview an applicant appreciates the effort; this is what keeps me going.

Faith Kitonga, Field Team Member, CWS Resettlement Support Center, Nairobi, Kenya


I believe that the people we help can do much more with something that they have but have not yet revealed to improve their life.

Fredy Chandra, CWS Indonesia program officer based in Poso, Central Sulawesi


Although it’s not easy to convince parents that early childhood education is important for their children’s development, when parents whose kids participate in the CWS’ early childhood development program told me that their kids have experienced positive cognitive, motor, intelligence, and psychosocial development, it’s all paid off.

Anton Samrita, CWS Indonesia program officer based in Poso, Central Sulawesi


Because what we do reminds me that good deeds will always overcome hate. This is what I learned when CWS assist the people affected by the past conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Beno Putra Peuru, CWS Indonesia program manager


As a refugee caseworker, I strive to produce quality work by collecting accurate information from refugee clients and communicating clearly with them our role and their rights within the resettlement process.

Jaclyn Miller, Field Team Member, CWS Resettlement Support Center, Nairobi, Kenya


I always think of the disadvantaged people in the remote areas that we helped.  They would have the opportunity to experience significant change and improve their life through the assistance that we provided.

Dessy Susanti, CWS Indonesia Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator


I try to remember that whatever challenges I face in working at a headquarters office, they are never as daunting or immediate as what my colleagues face in the field – let alone the daily challenges faced by the men, women and children whom our programs serve.  This pushes me to put more time and effort into my work here, in the hope that it provides value to those working on the front lines.

Andrew Fuys, Associate Director for International Programs, CWS, New York