Often when there is a disaster in the world, be it an earthquake, a tsunami, or other global tragedy, people will contact our office and ask if this is the work we do? Are our doctors working with the refugees? Are they assisting those impacted by natural disaster?
No, the humanitarian effort of the doctors who serve with Mission Doctors occurs in places where there is little to no news coverage. There is an additional element for our doctors: serving as part of our shared Catholic faith. They serve in rural Cameroon and Uganda, on the Napo River of Peru, or far in the south of Ecuador. Our goal is to work with the existing Catholic health care system to provide direct patient care and training for local health care workers, always with the goal of working ourselves out of a job. Even when Mission Doctors worked in and around a Refugee Camp in Thailand it was the vision of the Bishop to ensure that those living on the outside of the camp felt that the Church cared for their needs as much as those who were receiving care within the fences.
When there is a crisis in the world met by humanitarian aid workers, I am always proud to point to the Catholic Relief Services – having witnessed firsthand the tremendous work they did in Refugee Camps along the Laotian and Cambodian border with Thailand during the time my husband and I served. I’ve often told people that CRS will make you proud to be an American Catholic when you see the aid, which is given without fanfare or desire of recognition but instead with selfless love.
And while many humanitarian aid workers stand on the front lines of war and disaster, braving tremendous dangers and difficulties to deliver assistance to those who need it most, all of those who make sacrifices to serve around the world, and those who advocate for an awareness of the needs are honored on World Humanitarian Day, which takes place every year on 19 August.
For all who leave the comforts of home and family, for those who risk their very lives in humanitarian service, we ask you to join us in praying for their wellbeing. May they find fulfillment in their work, may they remain safe and may they know that their efforts are among the most important work in the world.