From The Classroom To The Field (Staff Interview)

Published on 12 August 2013

Khin Moe Aye is a Programme Officer in the Yangon region, Myanmar.

After lecturing at Yangon University, Khin Moe Aye decided to move into humanitarian work in her own country. Now a programme officer in the Yangon Country Office, an important part of her job is to battle food insecurity and manage tensions between the groups of people she helps. Khin tells us about some of the challenges she's faced while delivering food to remote parts of the country.

What is your job?
My principal task is to find people who need food and figure out the best means of feeding them.

What did you do before joining WFP?
I worked as a lecturer at Yangon University for three years.

World Humanitarian Day

Every day, humanitarian workers around the world make sacrifices and face danger in order to reach people who need their help. On August 19, we recognize their commitment and dedication.

How did you find your way into WFP?
During a short Masters course in Singapore, I had a serious discussion with my close friends and became determined to work for the United Nations.   Once I returned to my country, I submitted my resume to WFP and got accepted right away. I felt so lucky.

What’s your most moving experience with WFP?
When the cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in 2008, several hundreds of thousands of people lost their family, houses, livelihoods and more.  Right after the disaster, I was there, leading WFP’s first assessment.  It was shocking for me to see the seriousness of the damage; witnessing how many people were left lacking basic food, water and shelter.  Our team rushed to send food to people at the camps and affected villages.  Some villagers had been eating solely coconut for a week.  When WFP food was air-dropped by the UN Humanitarian Airforce Service, they were hugging us and crying out of happiness. I’ll never forget the look in their eyes.  It reminds me of who I am working for.

What’s your most frightening experience?
Travelling through risky areas is always a challenge for WFP staff world-wide.  For me, the most frightening experiences were almost drowning while traversing a rough river and almost falling down from a cliff while travelling on a crooked, narrow and slippery mountain road.
 
What is a humanitarian?
 
A humanitarian is one who possesses a spirit of empathy for needy people regardless of their race, color or religion. He or she is willing to give up his or her own welfare for the sake of others.

Are you one?
To be a full-fledged humanitarian worker is my ideal, I am still trying to be one.