For the month of March, we focused on the hardworking women of TDI contributing to the Mine Action industry in their own unique way. To wrap up this month, we introduce Arek; TDI’s Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) Coordinator in South Sudan. She takes great pride in helping others, as it has always been her dream to work in the humanitarian sector.
Arek started her journey as a Community Liaison Officer in 2000, initially providing risk education to internally displaced persons (IDPs), communities and children with Operation Save Innocent Lives (OSIL). In the beginning, Arek experienced difficulties and criticism being a woman working in the Mine Action industry. Furthermore, her family questioned the nature of her job, however, their views began to change once she explained her impact in helping those who live in danger of unexploded ordnance (UXO).
After working with UNMAS from 2004 to 2016, Arek eventually joined TDI in 2017, seizing the opportunity to continue her work as a Community Liaison Officer. Arek’s potential was quickly realised and she was promoted to Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) Coordinator in 2018.
Arek works tirelessly to raise awareness of explosive remnants of war and landmines to promote safe behaviour in South Sudan. With the use of mass media, Arek and her teams provide valuable risk education to people living in IDP camps, communities and as well as those in affected areas. Their aim is to reach as many people as possible with this life-saving information. She is also responsible for internal quality assurance (IQA), and visits all of the other TDI Community Liaison teams to ensure that they are doing what is required of them.
Naturally, working in this industry comes with its challenges; the workload is heavy and the tasks can be tough. There are times of frustration and heartbreak yet, it is these moments that motivate Arek and her colleagues to inform those who live in danger of UXO. She cannot imagine her life without this job and loves helping other people. She is “proud to be a part of making South Sudan a safer place.”
Arek values her contribution as a woman to this industry. She strives to make a difference to her community and country, and hopes to one-day look back on her country and know that she was part of South Sudan’s success in becoming landmine free.