Terre des hommes (Iraq)

18.08.2016 - News

World Humanitarian Day: For our teams in the field, children come first.

To commemorate this year’s World Humanitarian Day, we are taking a moment to highlight the work of our teams in the field. It is not always easy to be a humanitarian worker…

Our photos show Tdh staff in situations that are sometimes surprising, sometimes funny, and sometimes very challenging. Enjoy – and a big thanks to all of them out there for using their expertise, creativity and energy to improve the lives of vulnerable children.


Working in the humanitarian field means making children smile – even if you have to dress up as a butterfly! In Ecuador, our team organises fun games for children in camps for people displaced by this year’s earthquake. A great way to forget the trauma and the fear of additional quakes – at least for a few hours.


Working in the humanitarian field means making brave choices. Huda Alawadi (in the middle of the photo) looks after Tdh’s child protection centre in the Gaza Strip. When the centre was partially damaged following an air raid several years ago, Huda and her colleagues risked leaving their homes to make repairs. They ensured the centre was ready for children, offering recreational activities the first day after the war.


Working in the humanitarian field means adapting to your environment. Here, a local employee hired after the Nepal earthquake in 2015 rests on a box containing reconstruction materials. Immediately after the natural disaster, our experts provided assistance to affected populations. We distributed essential goods and helped rebuild infrastructure. 


Working in the humanitarian field means celebrating graduation with music. Here, one of Burundi’s best drum troupes plays to celebrate the end of a professional training program for children in conflict with the law. The Burundi Minister of Justice also took part in festivities at the Giheta training centre, which is managed by Tdh’s local partners. 

Burkina Faso

Working in the humanitarian field means dealing with unexpected guests. Crocodiles are regular visitors at our Burkina Faso offices. “At the moment, we see them a lot. Getting past them can be challenging,” says Sonia, our head of delegation. What with flooding and reptiles, the team is planning on moving soon. 


Working in the humanitarian field means discovering hidden talents. Here, our protection specialist Marion paints a child’s face in Naswara camp, near Kirkuk, Iraq. These children have been displaced by the war ravaging their country. Our teams organise recreational activities like singing, sports and games for them. 

“To start with, we were a bit worried how the parents would react – whether they would worry about the paint leaving stains or being hard to get off. But in the end, they loved it!” said Marion. “Some even brought their babies so we could paint tiny hearts or suns.”


Working in the humanitarian field means meeting Swiss stars. Here, Lauriane Sallin, Miss Switzerland, visits our projects in Brazil. In the Fortaleza district, our teams call on families whose children take part in extracurricular activities organized by Tdh. These activities help educators spread messages preventing violence and promoting children’s rights.


Working in the humanitarian field sometimes means having accidents. Don’t worry – they aren’t always serious. Here, our head of delegation in Lebanon asked for ice for a bump on the head. She ended up being taken away in a stretcher. You can’t be too careful!

South Sudan

Working in the humanitarian field means getting your hands dirty. Here, our South Sudan team attempts to dig out their 4WD, which got stuck in the mud. This is all in a day’s work for our team, which is well versed in the difficulties of the region it works in.

“For the past few weeks, we haven’t been able to get to Labarab because of the rainy season. Our coordinator is on the way to Labarab but hasn’t got to the river yet, so we don’t know if he’ll be able to cross over or not,” said our South Sudan delegation head in an email to head office.


Working in the humanitarian field means looking on the bright side. Here, the tent used to welcome refugees at the Serbo-Croatian border at the end of 2015 is looking worse for wear after strong winds and heavy rains. Our team got up at dawn to spend a few hours cleaning, before reorganising and redecorating!

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