Charity “Cha” Magdadaro, one of our Project Assistants for our Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) Response in Cagayan shared with us her insights as a humanitarian worker for eight years now. Get to know Cha and find out what makes her one of our Real Life Heroes.
What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker?
I started working as a humanitarian volunteer in 2013. After few involvements, I tried jobs in the industrial field, but my heart always searched for a job that works with the community. Working in this field gives me deeper satisfaction than other jobs. I witnessed a huge need of change that most communities in the Philippines need, and the small, step-by-step impact of humanitarian intervention to communities always makes a big difference.
Being able to witness children learning, mothers accepting new knowledge, and empowering the members of community – these things are priceless.
Why are you making this sacrifice?
With the challenges that the pandemic we are all facing and the calamities that heap up the burden of the vulnerable community, it is not easy to just ignore it. Humanitarian work is needed. Someone needs to do it. Someone needs to be there. I am answering the call.
What have been the challenges to your work because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Due to budgetary constraints, we could not help all the people needing assistance. We had to be selective and narrow down our beneficiaries to the most vulnerable sector of the population.
Several of our planned activities have also been postponed due to community quarantine initiatives that the LGUs imposed. Within the community, the challenges of involving senior citizens, pregnant and lactating women and other vulnerable members of the community had been tough since they were the ones not allowed to be in social gathering, not even allowed to go out.
But then, beyond the mentioned challenges, the risk of being with a lot of people amid this pandemic is the most weighing burden I have. The heightened sense of protecting myself for the sake of my family, friends and the team is always the priority. With all the tasks I have to accomplish every day, this is a big challenge.
What motivates you to keep doing your work even with these challenges?
Helping the community is what drives me to keep going. Being an avenue to meet the immediate needs of the community is a fulfilling moment. 3 months after Typhoon Goni, some of our beneficiaries still live in tents in evacuation centers. The most common profile of the people we help are families with pregnant and lactating mothers do not earn a living wage and Senior Citizens with chronic ailments. Our interventions help them sustain hope despite the flooding and the pandemic that had caused them to lose so much.
The impact of the assistance I help deliver to the community outweighs the personal risks that the pandemic brings.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of the team I am with in this emergency response. Despite the pandemic, we are still able to achieve our purpose in the community. There is always that challenge to strike the balance between taking a risk and protecting ourselves. Nonetheless, my team works hard, sacrificing things in life, just to do their job at its best.
Our Humanitarian Assistance to Typhoon Vamco-affected Communities in Region II, Philippines is funded by the European Union, and implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines, CARE Philippines, ACCORD Incorporated, and Plan International Philippines,