Real Life Heroes: Michael “Q-pie” Queman

Michael Queman, or “Q-pie” as we call him, is one of our Project Assistants for the iPREPARED project. As a climate change advocate and one of our Real Life Heroes, Q-pie knows that #ItTakesAVillage to achieve climate justice.

Get to know Q-pie as he shares his story from being a survivor to humanitarian worker:

What is your role and/or key responsibilities in Action Against Hunger?

Currently, I am working as a project assistant in the DRR Project of Action Against Hunger wherein I am coordinating with the community with regards to disaster risk reduction and resilient livelihood activities.

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

I am already 12 years in the humanitarian world and started working with the organization since 2014 during Typhoon Haiyan.

What motivated you to become a humanitarian worker?

Way back in 2008, I was also a victim of displacement during the flooding in my hometown in Cotabato City. I witnessed several individuals who came and gave support to the affected families. This made me realize that I want to be in an organization that provides support, especially to the underserved and less fortunate members of the community.

Why are you making this sacrifice?

I know the feeling of being helpless and incapacitated. Providing support to improve the living condition of every person gave me a sense of fulfillment. Opportunity is not equally available to everyone, and we are instruments to alleviate the living conditions of those with less opportunities.

What have been the challenges to your work?

Aside from the pandemic, natural hazards are currently affecting our served community.

What motivates you to keep doing your work even with these challenges?

I took an opportunity of the challenges we encountered in the project. This is the time to educate the community about disaster risk reduction, especially on the importance of preparedness and mitigation.

What are you most proud of?

Witnessing the impact of the project on the community is an achievement. That somehow, you became a part of improving their living conditions.

How can you engage the youth more in your line of work?

We have seen in our naked eyes the effect of climate change. As a DRR advocate, it is important to educate and encourage the youth to put action on what they posted on social media like the campaign on #savemotherearth. That the responsibility to save mother earth is more than just posting. It’s like practicing what you are posting.

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Real Life Heroes: Al-King Dilangalen

Al-King Dilangalen, one of our Project Assistants for the REACH 3 Project, shares how his love for helping others always prevails in times when being a humanitarian worker becomes difficult. This is one of the many reasons why he’s one of our Real Life Heroes.

Get to know Al-King and his inspiring take on being a humanitarian worker:

What is your role/or key responsibilities in Action Against Hunger?

I am currently one of the project assistants for the “Response to the unmet Humanitarian Needs of the most vulnerable populations in Mindanao affected by conflict, natural hazards, and COVID-19 pandemic” or REACH 3 Project.

My responsibility is to coordinate with community partners and leaders, especially the local government units in our covered areas, both in barangay and municipal level particularly on Health and Nutrition sector. We worked together with local and barangay health workers to conduct health missions, nutrition screenings for children and Pregnant and Lactating women, and conduct covid-19 vaccination campaigns to hard-to-reach areas affected by conflict and natural disasters.

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

In the past 3 years, I have been working as a humanitarian worker, mainly in emergency response projects. I started my career when I had the chance to respond in earthquake affected areas in North Cotabato. Then after, I started working with Action Against Hunger under COVID-19 emergency WASH assistance project and REACH 2 Top-Up Emergency Response Project.

What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker?

Humanitarian work is nonetheless exceptional. Having been able to respond during crisis to communities affected by disasters or conflict and help them ease their burden is the main reason why I choose to be a humanitarian worker.

Why are you making this sacrifice?

We are living in a very critical times right now, and it doesn’t take much to trigger off another calamitous events. And I believe that it takes a good heart for a human being to commit itself for the good of humanity. Its not merely a sacrifice but rather a shared responsibility. When someone sees inequality and injustices, there should be no second thoughts about making actions. To me, I know that my commitment in serving the community is somewhat my great contribution in making this world free from poverty.

What have been your challenge in your work?

As an aid worker, people always recognize us for the courage and passion despite being in a risky situation. However, the truth is, we’re also vulnerable. Sometimes, we’re not only the responders but is some circumstances, we’ve also become the survivors. We position ourselves in many dangerous places. We brave through the floods, we travel in an insecure area, and our lives are at stake.

What motives you to keep doing your work even with these challenges?

There are moments when our body wants to rest but our heart would continue to go on. There is always this contradiction. They do not speak in unity especially when you see the need for aid. The heart usually prevails. The heart wins. And this is why I keep doing my job.

What are you most proud of?

Working in the humanitarian world allowed me to see how my values align with the real-world. I was able to balance realities, with a sense of adventure, meet people, and have new experiences. This is the work culture that I’ll always be proud of.

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