2014 Humanitarian Hero Shanghini Shanmugananthan

DUTY STATION: Sri Lanka
POSITION: Project coordinator

“When you meet someone you have assisted somewhere and hear they are doing very well and it is because of the help your organization and you that he/she is able to get their life back on track, to me that is the most rewarding part of my work.”

As a project coordinator for IOM, Shanghini works with a programme called Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration, in the Safe Migration Awareness Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to make people aware of the risks associated with irregular migration, and targets communities, school children, college students and government officials. She has also been part of the airport assistance program for those voluntarily returning.

Though there are challenges associated with effectively reaching the population she works with, Shanghini says that her work has taught her to be patient and to try to understand from the other person’s point of view. For her, being a humanitarian means being compassionate, and to see someone who is able to have a better future because of her organization is the most rewarding part of the job.

“There was a family I helped reunite with their father in Europe, they thanked me profusely and blessed me for the good work I had done. People I have met during my work have taught me a lot of things, mostly compassion. I would continue to work for people and help them in whatever way I can.”