2014 Humanitarian Hero Saw Yan Aung

DUTY STATION: Myanmar
POSITION: Head of sub-office

“Challenging aspects are: work away from home, facing different cultures, difficulty accessing places, communication gaps, conflict areas...”

WHY DID YOU BECOME A HUMANITARIAN WORKER OR VOLUNTEER?

Just after Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar’s delta region in 2008, I realized the huge needs of affected people. Really painful to see many of lives lost, displaced people and so much suffering.

WHAT'S THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR WORK?

I have worked in emergency response and recovery for the past five years and the most rewarding part of my work is protection and needs.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE CHALLENGING ASPECTS OF YOUR WORK?

Challenging aspects are: work away from home, facing different cultures, difficulty accessing places, communication gaps, conflict areas...

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE WORK YOU DO?

During the past five years, I have worked especially in emergency response and recovery projects in Myanmar’s Ayayarwaddy.

I worked as volunteer with Christian societies for emergency response, provided food at the camps after the Nargis Cyclone. In 2009, I worked with IOM in early recovery projects which provided shelter assistant. In 2010, I worked with IOM again to provide health assistance and shelter kits in response to Cyclone Giri in Rakhine. Today, I continue working with Disaster Risk Reduction, IOM in Mon and Kayin States.

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED DURING YOUR WORK?

I worked to provide rapid response after Cyclone Nargis, delivering food and water at a camp. It was very hard to reach effected areas and provide food and water to large groups of affected people. It was hard to work, manage and stay in the camp. It was particularly painful to see how many people were waiting for their relatives to reach the camp, desperate people searching around and a lot of dead bodies everywhere. I will never forget this experience.