In the midst of COVID-19, aid workers and health-care respondents remain and deliver to the most vulnerable people in the world.
“It is not easy, and times are still uncertain. However, we stayed and delivered,” Nadine, Mahama refugee camp.
Celebrated every year on 19 August to pay homage to humanitarian workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, this year, the United Nations campaign for World Humanitarian Day pays special tribute to people who provide “life-saving support” to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like elsewhere in the world, many brave women and men working in refugee camps in Rwanda are demonstrating that they have dedicated their lives to protecting refugees and asylum seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda.
From the time Nadine Bukuru entered UNHCR in 2012, she realized she was born to help. She says she’s committed to putting people first and ready to make a difference to the lives of refugees.
“I’ve loved to work with refugees. It was an opportunity to support those in need and support them to regain their dreams, “Nadine said.
In the midst of a global pandemic, increasing needs, and growing insecurity, aid workers and health-care respondents remain and deliver to the most vulnerable people in the world. Today committed humanitarians like Nadine are doing their best to provide vital assistance to refugees in different refugee camps and urban areas in Rwanda.
“It is not easy, and times are still uncertain. However, we stayed and delivered,” Nadine said. “We’re diligently monitoring distribution activities for both cash and in-kind assistance and we’re ensuring continuity of business most especially lifesaving activities such as healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene, food, cooking energy and masks distribution to all refugees in Mahama camp,” she adds.
“I feel that helping refugees even during challenging times is my duty as a member of the UNHCR family. We have been staying and we delivered. We are humanitarians, “Yaziddy Vera Ntaganda, a teammate of Nadine, said.
Christine and other humanitarian workers in Nyabiheke refugee camp continue to sensitize the refugees to avoid and mitigate COVID-19 in addition to providing humanitarian assistance. ©UNHCR/Eugene Sibomana
“It is not easy, and times are still uncertain. However, we stayed and delivered,” Nadine, Mahama refugee camp. ©UNHCR/Staff
"We have been staying and we delivered. We are humanitarians,“ Yaziddy Vera Ntaganda. ©UNHCR/Staff
When Kabarore Field Unit was opened to assist Congolese refugees hosted in Nyabiheke camp, Christine Nkwihoreze was part of the team. She says Nyabiheke’s humanitarian workers continue to sensitize the refugees to avoid and mitigate COVID-19 in addition to providing humanitarian assistance.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been providing the refugees with information on the pandemic,” she said. “We ensure that refugees and all humanitarian workers in the camp respect all measures of prevention such as social distancing, wearing masks, and washing their hands.”
The dedication, perseverance, and self-sacrifice of these humanitarian workers is the best of humanity in responding to the COVID-19 crisis and the massive increase in humanitarian needs it has triggered.
They are being tested as never before, dealing with unprecedented restrictions on travel and inadequate funding as the needs exceed the funds.
“We take a moment to thank and honor UNHCR staff in Rwanda and all the aid workers who have dedicated their lives to protecting refugees on this World Humanitarian Day,” said Ahmed Baba Fall, UNHCR Representative in Rwanda. “We’re also grateful to our donors who help make this humanitarian work possible.”