Person standing in a dim room of a collapsed building.
School number 62 in Kharkiv is one of the 4,000 schools damaged in the Ukraine war. FCA's work in Ukraine focuses on education and psychosocial support. In the picture, school principal Oleksander Grianyk examines the hole left by a missile. Photo: FCA / Antti Yrjönen.

Aid workers at the core of crises – where to find the courage to help?

Sa 25.5.2024 16.10-16.50
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Kirkon Ulkomaanapu

Armed robberies, Teams calls interrupted by air raid sirens, peace work amid violent conflicts. Attacks on and threats to aid workers have increased in the last decade. Despite that, many continue to work in the most unpredictable circumstances, far away from their families in order to work for change in the lives of the most vulnerable people – but why? What does an aid worker’s daily life look like in a fragile country?

This programme item is about the courage that holds up our world. The speakers are Finn Church Aid (FCA) Country Directors Patricia Maruschak (Ukraine), Seme Nelson (South Sudan) and Mazen Khzouz (Syria). FCA Manager of International Communications, Ruth Owen, will host the audience-engaging discussion.

The programme will be in English. The programme will be available on-site at the Speaker’s stage and through live stream on the Festival website. After the programme, there will be an opportunity to meet the speakers in Lämpiö next to Speaker’s stage.

I remain here because there is a very direct connection between what I do and how it directly impacts people. If I don’t see the impact of what I do on people’s lives, positive impact, there is no point in doing it.

Seme Nelson

Patricia Maruschak

Ukrainian-Canadian Patricia Maruschak has dedicated over 25 years working for government, financial institutions, and international corporations. Now, she serves as FCA’s Country Director in Ukraine. With her dual Canadian-Ukrainian heritage, she maintains strong connections with Ukrainian organizations and specializes in gender-responsive and human rights-oriented initiatives.

Seme Nelson

Seme Nelson has worked for FCA since 2015 as education and peacebuilding advisor before being promoted to FCA South Sudan’s Country Director. Growing up as a refugee in Kenya and Uganda, he developed a lifelong interest in education and peacebuilding. He holds two master’s degrees in international education and development, and peace and conflict studies.

Mazen Khzouz

Jordanian Mazen Khzouz is FCA’s Country Director for both Jordan and Syria. he spends his days travelling between the two countries overseeing education and livelihood programmes that support both refugee and host communities. Khzouz started his career as a volunteer for the UN, before working for UN Women and later with several Jordanian NGOs.

Ruth Owen

Ruth Owen is FCA’s Manager of International Communications.