2014 Humanitarian Hero Hwahyun Kim

LOCATION: Seoul, Republic of Korea 
POSITION: Project Coordinator 

“I often feel that relentless self-development and learning are required to survive in this field. Thus, I keep trying to broaden my understanding and experience of humanitarian work.”

Hwahyun first started paying attention to the humanitarian sector when she realized that the stories she saw in documentaries about child soldiers, victims of human trafficking and ethnic minorities were a daily reality for people around the world. She has a strong belief that all humans are equal, and for her, being a humanitarian is about respect. 

Now, with IOM, she facilitates capacity-building programmes for humanitarians in the Republic of Korea.  One of the limitations in her field in South Korea, Hwahyun says, is that many humanitarian workers lack technical knowledge and experience in the field. In her work, she organizes trainings to give people skills for use in the field, as well as publishing humanitarian manuals and tools in Korean. One of her most memorable experiences was working with a group called the Technical Working Group to translate the ReliefWeb Glossary of Humanitarian Terms into Korean.

“This was a tremendous experience that humanitarian actors from different agencies and sectors gathered together and accomplished a tangible outcome of their collaborative participatory action.”

But the most rewarding part of her job is when she sees her trainings put to good use. 

“When beneficiaries of the capacity-building programmes were deployed to the field and they provided feedback that the programmes were very helpful in actual operation, I feel my efforts paid off.”