Humanitarian Work is an Investment of Heart and Soul

Humanitarian Work is an Investment of Heart and Soul 

Rosemary Kabui, Civil Engineer and Site Planner for IOM in Iraq 


For me, being a humanitarian is dedicating myself, my skills, my resources, my time and everything I have to help people who have suffered great loss due to tragedies, people who have lost members of their families, their home and other valuables. 

My favorite part about my job is seeing the results of all the work we do. I feel happy when I see how an idea, a concept or a plan we proposed to a donor is implemented: how it comes to life and how it impacts the families who have greatly suffered.  

The most challenging part of this job is the fact that you can never meet everyone’s needs. Even if you get 10 million dollars in grant funding today you will never be able to serve everyone. When you go to the field to monitor projects you always come across families who are left out of the process. It is painful to know you cannot help the entire population. 

Working in Iraq is very interesting. I am from Africa and moving to the Middle East was a big change for me. Due to the different backgrounds and people, I stand out here. But I believe we are all human beings wherever we go and that our humanity is something that binds us together. You can find warmth, light and compassion anywhere you go. Here in Iraq there is a lot of generosity and a strong sense of hospitality which really surprised me and changed my perception of the Middle East. 

Working as a humanitarian can take a toll on you, both physically and emotionally, as you invest your heart and soul into the job. On a daily basis, you interact with people who have lost everything. These interactions and the realization of your own privileged background can have an impact on the way you perceive things. 

As a woman humanitarian I feel that we are as capable, if not more, as our male counterparts. We can handle the same tasks, balance activities and perform our duties. We are intelligent and can solve complex problems. At times we can also bring our inherent softness to our job. I would really like to see more women step up as humanitarians and break certain stereotypes in our field.