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Jennifer Worthington, 43, from Victoria, works in humanitarian coordination for Oxfam.

"I love the work I do. You can’t save the world but you can do your best to save lives and help people live with dignity, especially when disaster and conflict have taken everything from them.

"I’ve worked in a range of countries, including Sudan, East Timor, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea. I work with their governments, supporting them in emergency response – whether that be to a conflict or natural disaster - so they get access to the best people and resources as fast as possible.

"The project I’m working on now is in Vanuatu, which is one of the most vulnerable countries in the Pacific when it comes to natural disasters.

"In fact, we’ve just had a category 4 cyclone go through and my role involved working out what resources were where and how to move them around, as well as keeping agencies, governments and donors informed about the situation and what the needs were expected to be.

"In the Pacific, you only have a small number of agencies and a small population but they are very spread out over a number of very remote islands which makes the humanitarian response quite complicated.

"One of the things that constantly inspires me in this job is that there are people who experience the most horrific events, who lose everything - family, home, possessions - and yet are able to survive and even offer basic hospitality to others.

"Of course there are also challenging times when you think: ‘Oh God, what am I doing here?’, but you’re there to save lives and help people and if you sit and cry you’re no good to anyone.

"To be honest, the worst situations are when you don’t have the support of the local government. That happened in South Darfur in Sudan and we ended up being expelled.

"I’ve won a humanitarian overseas service medal but the recognition that means more to me comes from the people I serve.

"I have a Somali tribal name that means Golden Camel and apparently I am worth at least 100 camels! I was also made an honorary chief and given an amazing headdress in a very remote village in Papua New Guinea. My title means ‘The Warrior Shield – the one that goes in first and protects’. That is an honour. When the community values the work you do, that is priceless."


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1 Answer

  • Donald
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Best Answer

    Here goes:

    Jennifer Worthington works for Oxfam, an organization that helpso people who have been affected by natural disasters or war. She works with the governments of the affected countries to bring help and supplies to the affected people. Among the countries she's worked in are Sudan, East Timor, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea. She's now in Vanuatu, which recently was hit by a cyclone.

    Worthington is both inspired and discouraged by her work. She is inspired by the people who've been hurt by the disaster or war, but who persevere and continue on. She sometimes is discouraged by the overwhelming challenges. She's also discouraged when the government of a country doesn't support her efforts, as occurred in South Darfur.

    Although she's won humanitarian awards, she's most proud when the affected communities and people recognize the work she's done.

    Source(s): 40+ years as an editor and writer.
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