Every August 19, World Humanitarian Day celebrates the countless individuals who face adversity and danger to help others across the globe. In the week leading up to World Humanitarian Day 2012, it seems only fitting to feature one of these wonderful individuals who we have the pleasure of having on the CARE team.
Meet our very own Jessie Thomson. You might remember her from some of her guest blog posts!
Jessie Thomson is CARE Canada’s Acting Emergency Director. Jessie joined CARE in 2011, but began her humanitarian career as a student at the University of Toronto, Peace and Conflict Studies program. It was there where she volunteered with the World University Services of Canada (WUSC) Student Refugee Program, helping resettled refugee students integrate into their new lives in Canada.
Jessie recalls, “While volunteering with the WUSC student refugee program, I developed a wonderful friendship with a newly arrived Afghan refugee in Toronto. That friendship inspired me to start working in the international humanitarian field.”
What does Jessie do at CARE?
Jessie spends as much as 60 per cent of her time in countries around the world responding to emergencies or helping communities prepare for them. Over the course of her career Jessie has travelled and worked in Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, Columbia, Haiti, Kenya, Mali, Pakistan, Benin and Tanzania.
Her most recent deployment was to eastern Chad for two months, where she oversaw the emergency response and ongoing programming in CARE Chad, as the Interim Assistant Country Director. Jessie worked to ensure that all CARE Chad programs met minimum humanitarian standards and helped to coordinate and plan food distributions and other assistance to Chadian people affected by the current food crisis in the Sahel.
Most memorable experience
Last year, Jessie travelled to Kenya to the Dadaab refugee camp to support the Country Office in the development of their Emergency Response Strategy. At the time, more than 1,500 refugees were arriving daily to Dadaab in search of safety, shelter and food. Jessie describes, “To hear women’s stories of their journeys carrying their children for miles – sometimes losing them along the way, really had an impact on me, and reinforced exactly why I continue to do what I do.”
Check out Jessie’s blog about her experience in Kenya, in 2011.
Outside of work
These past few months outside of travelling to Chad, taking on new responsibilities in the team and writing program proposals for new funding, Jessie has been planning her wedding!
Jessie is getting married this September in her hometown Kincardine, Ontario. “Planning a wedding from Chad is not easy!” Jessie laughed. Alongside of nuptial plans and CARE Canada, Jessie never ceases to remember the importance of family and friends. “It’s very easy to get disconnected from people who matter most to you in a role like this. So when I’m not working I make sure to spend as much time as I can with my partner, my family and my friends.”
The theme of 2012’s World Humanitarian Day is people helping people. Not everyone can be a humanitarian superhero, but you can leave your mark in small ways every day. Interested in supporting a current emergency? Learn about CARE’s emergency response in the Sahel, or make a donation and help strengthen our efforts. Leave your mark this World Humanitarian Day.