Browsing Category: Staff Spotlight

World Humanitarian Day

According to the United Nations, “World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises all over the world.”

Did you know?

  • International humanitarian assistance increased for the third consecutive year, reaching a record high of $28 billion in 2015. In 2016, it amounted for $27.2 billion.
  • In 2015, 287 aid workers were victims of major attacks: 109 killed, 110 wounded and 68 kidnapped.
  • A recent report by the World Health Organisation indicates that between 2014 and 2015, approximately a thousand people died as a result of attacks on medical facilities and workers in 19 countries.

Convoy of Hope’s Humanitarian Affairs team is tasked with monitoring and researching crises around the world, creating a response plan and implementing programs to assist people suffering as a result of those tragedies.

We asked the team what it means to be a humanitarian. This is what they said.

Working to advocate for humanitarianism is a very rewarding, yet overwhelming task. While providing relief and help to many in need, the experience of their poor conditions, the sense of suffering, the realization of what they have lost and the reality of their lack of safety weighs on me and compels me to keep working hard to do our part to bring that much-needed hope. — Tamar

Being part of Convoy’s humanitarian affairs team is humbling in many respects, but when I think of the work COH does for and among refugees, I can’t help but wonder that the true “humanitarians” in these situations are the mothers walking across hostile terrain and in harsh climates to protect small children and infants or the fathers who must make near impossible decisions – decisions most of us could never imagine – for the safety and future of their families. — Tom

It is really counter-cultural, counter self-preservation, counter tribal instincts and rights demanded under the threat of scarcity. The individuals we serve model the moral and spiritual grounds for intervention. It is generally they who first secured some vestiges of sanity in chaos to survive, who answered violence with peace, who placed the needs of their community and family ahead of their own safety. — Kari

Being a humanitarian is not an action that only exists while in a refugee camp or in the aftermath of a natural disaster: It is a commitment to a lifestyle from which we choose to view the world. In the realm of humanitarian affairs, we put ourselves in places where people require the most need, sometimes the areas are dangerous and most of the time the areas are thousands of miles from our families. Though our sacrifices can be great, it is minuscule compared to the pain our beneficiaries have gone through and sacrifices they have made to reach the safest places attainable to them. — Roshani

Please join us today as we pray for the humanitarians who are doing good work to help the poor and suffering throughout the world — no matter the risk.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
In The News / Inspiration / Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Bringing Good Will to All

One might call Will Leidecker our Staff Accountant in Finance. We like to call him our friend.

Where’s home?
Branson, Missouri

What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy rock climbing, canoeing and camping. Right now, I’m also reading a friend’s book and helping another one of my buddies fix up a bus. You know…normal bachelor stuff.

What’s one of your favorite places in Springfield?
Cherry Picker Package X Fare is a local coffee shop cafe with a cool vibe. They even have fire pits. It’s a great spot to hang out on the weekends.

Do you have any good stories?
I once traveled to Nicaragua to build houses and drill wells. I also went with my friend Marvin, who works with gang members, to visit a prison there. One of the prisoners gave me a bracelet made from a plastic bag. I wear it to remember the people and memories I made on that trip.

Why do you love your job?
My team is great. They want to make everything better, so they listen to what I have to say. I wanted to do something impactful with my career, and I can do that here.

Here’s a co-worker compliment:
Will’s ninja-like CPA skills keep us all afloat and moving steady. He works well with others and shares. He shows the hallmark sign of a truly great accountant, as his desk is often as messy as mine.

I think I can speak for the entire organization when I say we’re glad Will’s on the accounting team, where everybody counts!

~ Jon Krepinevich
Divisional Finance Director

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Staff Spotlight

Kellen’s Story — From Impoverished to Empowered

Kellen Msseemmaa has been with Convoy of Hope in Tanzania since 2013 as the Director of Empowered Girls.

Kellen was born and raised in Uganda and experienced poverty firsthand as the firstborn of six children. They often only had one meal a day or sometimes — nothing at all. See how her passion for empowering girls has transformed countless lives!

Tell us about your background.

Girls were seen as an income, but I never accepted the negativity around me. I knew learning was the only way out of poverty so I worked and studied hard to become a teacher.

Why is Women’s Empowerment so important?

Through the program, women don’t just receive money — they are trained to become good entrepreneurs. They become self-sufficient and are able to feed their children.

You launched the Empowered Girls program. What was your motivation behind that?

As a teacher, I noticed many girls would stop attending classes because they were getting pregnant. From that, I had the idea to start Empowered Girls to teach all young women they have value.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The programs really work. The young girls dream of becoming doctors, engineers and scientists — women who can change the world. That’s my best part.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Staff Spotlight

Fighting Hunger through Agriculture in Nicaragua

Five years ago, Convoy of Hope launched our Agriculture Initiative to teach impoverished farmers how to grow more abundant, disease-free crops. Under the guidance of our own Dr. Jason Streubel, tens of thousands of farmers in four countries have been able to grow crops that now feed their families and produce an income when the extra harvest is sold at market.

For the last two years, Calixta Cruz has directed our Agriculture Initiative in Nicaragua. Because she came from an impoverished farming family herself, she loves teaching farmers — especially students — how to grow crops that thrive so their lives are changed for the better.

What kind of obstacles have you faced?

My father passed away when I was five years old so my brother had to work to support our family. My mom baked bread in the morning and my sister and I would help her make the bread and sell it after school. I graduated high school in 2007 and wanted to attend university, but I didn’t get a scholarship. I shared a room with six other students and worked hard my first year, then got a scholarship my second year. I graduated with the highest grades in my class. I want people to know that anything is possible.

What’s your favorite part of working for Convoy?

When I go to see the school gardens. Kids ask me to teach them about the garden and ask if they can help. Several students have gardens at home now, and they’ve shown their neighbors how to start gardens too. I like to remind the kids they have to fight for what they want and can’t let any obstacles get in their way.

What was your most memorable moment working at Convoy?

I was working with sixth graders at a school, and we were sifting through soil for our garden, taking out glass and stones. I noticed that the kids were laughing nonstop and realized they had put a dead mouse in the dirt where I was working and I grabbed it without even realizing it! It was so funny!

Outside of work, what do you like to do?

I love talking with my family and I spend a lot of time thinking about work and how to improve things for the people we serve. I also enjoy going to church, the movies and hanging out with friends.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Agriculture / Staff Spotlight

Hal Donaldson Inducted into Missouri State Hall of Fame

Convoy of Hope President, Hal Donaldson, was inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame that honors individuals, who through their academic, personal or professional achievements, demonstrate active civic engagement to improve the lives of others.

“These honorees are exemplary individuals who use their skills and abilities to effect positive change on people from around the world,” said Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III. “They exemplify the characteristics of ethical leadership, community engagement and cultural competence. The state of Missouri, our nation and the world are better because of these individuals.”

Other inductees include Maxine Clark, Ann Covington, Judith Rowland and Langston Hughes. Donaldson thanked the local community for its collective involvement in bringing hope to people in need.

“The compassion and generosity of people in the Ozarks has helped make Convoy of Hope what it is today,” said Donaldson. “It is a privilege to be a part of this community.”

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
In The News / Staff Spotlight