And the worst?
The worst part for anyone in this field is having to turn families away when you can’t help them. It’s very difficult to accept that you can’t help everyone. I’m often asked if I ever get immune to this feeling, or the stories of conflict that I hear. My reply is always the same - ‘Every single person is different. They all have a different story, a different pain, a different struggle. If we avoid seeing every person as another conflict statistic, it’s impossible to become immune to this pain. Every person has a name, not a number.’
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
You will have to go through my music playlist to know this! Do I have to tell you...?
OK, my all time favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast, but that is not where the guilt lies. Sometimes, I sing along to ‘tale as old as time’ on a late night drive home. It’s not all that bad though, I add some bass into the track to make up for it!
I can’t believe I have openly admitted this, there goes my ‘strong independent woman’ reputation...
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
You would think it would be when I was working in Iraq, but it really isn’t. There is nothing that can bring you closer to death than not doing what you're told by your mother! I remember a time she sent me food shopping and I brought back nothing but sweets. She chased me out of the house… Send me back to Iraq, it’s safer!
What is the most important lesson life has taught you to date?
Trust the process of your life. Trust that there is benefit In everything that happens, good or bad. This does test your resilience but once you have mastered this faith, it brings about a strength you may never have realised you have. Take this faith, and carry on…
Who would be your guests (alive or dead) at your dream dinner party?
I would have to say Princess Diana. If I had the choice to have a conversation with one person then it would definitely be the ‘Peoples’ Princess’. She was an extremely charismatic person who held a genuine passion to help people. I quote - “anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can’’ (Princess Diana)
What is your most treasured possession?
Knowledge; knowledge through experience and knowledge through learning from other people. Wherever I travel, I seek wisdom. I love to learn from the life experiences of others. Not only is it useful to me but also to others. I believe sharing experiences and wisdom with each other is so important as you just never know who it may benefit. For knowledge to be of value, it must circulate not be hidden.
Of all the projects you’ve been involved with, what has been the most personally satisfying?
Working with widows and orphans through HRF’s orphan sponsorship campaign. This is a project I work on all year round, and I’ve personally seen the positive effects on families and children. Helping families keep a roof over their head, food on the table and getting children settled into school is all part of it.
A refugee once said to the HRF Team, “You are like the backbone in my body, your help has kept my body straight and my family together.”