Aid Work

“Kay Danes is an inspiration for giving a voice to the oppressed and unjustly accused of the world, and for shedding light on the struggles faced by the Afghan people, particularly women and children.”-

( WHO Magazine – October 2010)

Kay Danes with the Children of Nangarhar Prison (Afghanistan)

In most societies, getting through wars, famines and environmental disasters largely depends on the generosity of its support group, which comes down to acts of human compassion. It’s all about the age-old saying, ‘treat others as you would have them treat you’.

Throughout my life I’ve been attracted to philanthropic people who have a strong desire to help others. Altruism is driven by a complex set of factors and every person who does humanitarian work has a unique motivation. Some do it for religious reasons. Others are called to act, sometimes because of their own wounds, or through empathy for the suffering of others, or a desire to make a difference. My personal philanthropic side most likely developed partly because of how I was raised and partly because of the people I was drawn to.

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”—Author unknown

There is of course a serious side to becoming an Aid Worker and I mention this briefly in my latest book ‘Beneath the Pale Blue Burqa’.

In Afghanistan for example; the killing and kidnap of aid workers is on the rise. After Somalia, Afghanistan is the second most dangerous place in the world for aid workers, with a reported 33 aid workers killed in 2008 alone; and 141 security incidents recorded against aid workers in the country, in total for that same year. Iraq comes in as the third most dangerous, and Israel fourth. The phenomenon of sending poorly trained and inexperienced staff to the most challenging field settings, and not sufficiently training national staff, continues. This can increase risk, not only to the particular agency but also to the other agencies operating in the context. The interdependence of agencies in security means that when one agency experiences an incident, all agencies are forced to stop and revise the assumptions on which they’re working.

Further reading: Supporting Security for Humanitarian Action Report


Kay Danes in Afghanistan with Security outside Nangarhar Prison

“Thank God for brave people like Kay Danes who dare to venture beyond the safe zones to tell the stories of those who matter most”

– Josh Rushing, Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines TV Series (Washington DC).


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