Photo: Kimani DeShields-Williams
A DREAM TO WORK AS A HUMANITARIAN
Djamilla is a resilient and dedicated Chadian working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as a part of the response to the Maiduguri crisis in Nigeria.
A veterinarian by training, she always had the hope of working in the humanitarian world. Yet, when she was rejected for a job with a UN agency due to her lack of English, she decided to go to Accra to learn the language. After some time in Ghana, she discovered a position working with the resettlement program for refugees in Chad, financed by the United States and managed by IOM Ghana. Given that she spoke French, Sudanese Arabic, and now English, something triggered in her mind: “this post is for me!”. After applying, and completing an interview in English and French, she managed to obtain her first job with IOM in Chad as an Operations Assistant.
On the way to commence the new position, she was confronted with her first test. After missing her scheduled bus for Goré, she found a place on another, full of travelers where she had no choice but to sit in the back. A few hours later, she was awakened by the sound of cries and flames; the bus had an accident that killed 12 people; in which her life was saved due to her position in the back. Wounded, traumatized and lost, but determined, she continued on her path, and reported without delay to her first day.
After 8 years of aiding returnees, displaced persons, and other migrants in various situations with passion and altruism, she finally landed an international position in Maiduguri where she has been working for the past two years as a Project Manager for the distribution of non-food items (NFI) and Area Coordinator for Bama, in the state of Borno. When asked why she agreed to migrate for work, especially in such a challenging context, she responds “I always dreamed of working in the humanitarian world, to serve vulnerable people and the mandate of IOM has always fascinated me”. For Djamilla, to pursue an international career is certainly a feat, but leaving her country to help those in need is what she is proud of and her greatest achievement. To work away from family, in a context with great instability, where “we always have our hands on our hearts” she says, is not easy but her work is not finished “I still have more to do for these people”
This story is part of the "Beyond the Headlines: an Overview of Migration in Chad" publication.