Alight’s all-star teammates, working toward a better world for refugees
Heroes come in many shapes and sizes. At Alight, some of our staff are heroes just by showing up to work each day. As COVID-19 has arrived in the refugee communities where Alight works, our team members have emerged one-by-one to make heroic sacrifices and take actions that protect communities. They’ve spent weeks and months away from their families to ensure the people they serve have access to all the things they need to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And, to ensure they don’t bring the virus into the most vulnerable places.
Many are heroes because they’ve chosen to do things differently than they’ve always been done—making change because they believe in being brave and being better. These are medical professionals working on the frontlines. They are grocery store workers and truckers keeping essential goods and services flowing and children creating colorful art to recognize the efforts of strangers. All of us are in this together, doing whatever we can to bring hope to the people around us.
Here are just a handful of the amazing people helping Alight provide human-worthy, world class services. They help refugees and displaced people rebuild lives of purpose, connection, and joy.
Jamila: Taking care of her teammates
When COVID-19 arrived in Somalia, Jamila Abdirahman Omar noticed her fellow humanitarian workers at Alight were stretched thin. Working on the frontlines of this unprecedented pandemic and living weeks away from home and loved ones, they needed support. Jamila has led the charge – making sure her Alight teammates can access counseling and creating a hotline for 24-7 mental health support. The United Nations was so impressed, they asked Jamila to do the same for all humanitarian workers in Somalia!
Theoneste: Dedicated to his patients
Theoneste Bugingo has been working on the frontlines of COVID-19 in Rwanda. He’s a nurse for Alight at Mahama Refugee Camp and an expert in maternal and child health. When others stayed home during the lockdown, Theoneste and health care heroes like him couldn’t. Instead, he continued his critical work in Mahama, where he was separated from his family. When his patients couldn’t fight for themselves, Theoneste was there fighting for them.
Andrew: Always doing the doable
Andrew Sajja is the master of doing the doable. Andrew works for Alight in Uganda, and he’s got his eyes and ears always open for ways we can do something small that will make a huge difference to the communities we serve. He heads up our Changemakers 365 program in Uganda, and right now he’s spearheading the construction of a brand new computer lab at one of Nakivale’s high schools. Andrew knows better than anyone that once we do something small and create momentum, big things can happen!
Kamran: Keeping kids learning
Kamran Iftikhar Lone is becoming the Mr. Rogers of Pakistan – impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids daily. When the country locked down for COVID-19, Kamran thought first about school kids. How would they, without TV or the internet, continue their education? He developed Radio Muallim, a radio-based learning platform for kids grades 1-3. Now, any child with a radio can continue learning through the pandemic.
Dr. Terence: Helping the helpers
All this spring, Dr. Terence Francisco, from Alight’s Myanmar team, was helping the helpers. Through our partner, Sisters Rising Worldwide, we learned Catholic Sisters around the world were feeling uninformed and ill-equipped to help their at-risk communities through the pandemic. Dr. Terence stepped in to train hundreds of nuns from Zambia to India to understand COVID-19 and how to best prevent it. The Sisters then shared the information to help the people they serve protect themselves.
Inspired by Heroes
It’s true that being a humanitarian is a challenging job. But it’s also true that there are so many amazing people working to help and make change in the world. These people inspire our global teammates each and every day. There are so many heroes—and, as humanitarians, we are honored to interact with them.
Heroes like Andrew and Jamila. Heroes like our Dr. Terence, who has e-trained hundreds of Catholic Sisters in 86+ countries to take on COVID—giving them the info and tools they need to protect the at-risk communities they serve. Heroes like Theoneste. Heroes like Kamran, who created a radio-based learning program so kids in grades 1-3 in Pakistan could continue their education in the pandemic—and not fall behind.
This pandemic has reminded me that anyone and everyone can be a hero. A hero is someone who makes a commitment to be good to their fellow human beings and follows through on that promise.
Help Thank a Hero
Now more than ever, we need to come together to see the incredible good that’s happening right below the surface.
There are many ways you can thank these heroes. From Rwanda to Somalia to Pakistan to Myanmar and beyond, you can help assist them with their lifesaving missions—to protect their communities from the COVID-19 virus, and to continue their critical, pre-pandemic work serving refugees and displaced people. If you have any questions about Alight, our programs, or how you can thank our heroes, don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can make a donation here to support Alight’s work fighting COVID-19.