2014 Humanitarian Hero Phornsamay Siheuangxay
ORGANIZATION: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
LOCATION: Vientiane, Laos
“I was able to see the hardship of those in need, and our relationship developed deeper into friendship.”
For Phornsamay, humanitarian work is about dignity. In his position, he works to empower migrant workers, with a focus on women and children. Though when he first became a humanitarian volunteer he thought that the work would be difficult and dangerous, he has had a positive experience in the field and has developed relationships including friendships.
“The most rewarding part of my work is gaining life skills and valuable experience from sharing and communicating with people. It enriches my value in life and provides me a guide to face unexpected situations that cannot be obtained from reading from texts.”
One of the more difficult aspects of his work is finding ways to help migrants settle in a situation that is appropriate for them, and Phornsamay says that teamwork is essential. He finds his work rewarding and is happy when he can provide encouragement and peer counselling to help people handle the psychological trauma or pain they have experienced.
“The unforgettable moment that I have experienced during my work is the innocence, sincerity and trust of the community people I have worked with.”