Meet Idres, one of our humanitarian heroes

Every year, on 19th August we take time out of our lives to remember the men and women working on the frontline to help the world’s most vulnerable. On World Humanitarian Day in 2017 we are invited to stand together and demand that global leaders do everything to protect aid workers, they are #NotATarget.

Idres Abdulaziz works on the frontline of the humanitarian crisis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, for World Vision Iraq. As the Non-Food Items Coordinator, every day he meets civilians suffering and displaced by conflict.

He’s based in a mountainous region where more than 20 camps host thousands of people who have fled ISIL and the war in Syria.

Idres often sees people at their lowest point – crippled by fatigue, loss and with nothing but a small bag or just the clothes on their backs. One boy he met had lost his whole family in one day.

“My job is to provide children and adults with the essential items they need right at the start, to get them through the first hours and days,” he says.

“We provide items such as mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits and cooking stoves. It means they have somewhere to sleep, can stay clean and can cook food.

“Right now, we’re helping people who have fled the conflict in Mosul and Hawija. This week we distributed around 1,000 stoves in one day.”

One family who received a World Vision stove said it made a big difference to their lives.

“When we first arrived, we didn't have a stove or anything to cook on. We just had bread and vegetables,” Suwadi, a father from Mosul, said.

“I was very happy when we got the stove because we could stop eating biscuits and start cooking.” 

Idres’s job is life-saving. But sometimes the working conditions can be tough. The situation changes constantly and planning is a nightmare. Temperatures in the camps can tip a blistering 50 degrees in the summer. As a qualified electrical and computer engineer, it’s easy to question why Idres is still in the job.

“I was born near Mosul and one day we had to leave the area suddenly. I have been through a similar situation to the families I’m helping and I understand what they are going through,” he explains. “This is the reason why I want to keep this job. Once I needed the support and I received it, so now it’s time for me to help people.

“I like taking care of other people and having a positive impact on their lives. These people have been affected by conflict that is out of their control and we can support them. When there is a positive impact, it helps children and their families but also your life.”

When humanitarians, like Idres, are prevented from delivering aid, people in need suffer most. Show your support and sign the UN petition for World Humanitarian Day or join the conversation on social media using #NotATarget.