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Betty Adong: An advocate for children and a humanitarian

My passion for humanitarian work started when I was in Acholi-Pii Refugee Camp in northern Uganda in the year 1998.

As a young girl, together with my brother, we used to participate in child-led events such as International African Child Day, school debates where we discussed about social issues affecting our refugee community given the cultural diversity.

One interesting thing is that, despite limited awareness on children’s rights and sexual and gender-based violence, the community takes full responsibility in the healthy growth and development of a child.

We were fostered in an environment in which every child is given chance to go to school and this gave us hope.

One day as we were at a queue in the food distribution, I saw a young woman working for UNHCR as protection associate. She has a bright smile that gave me hope to live again.

She walked towards me and said “I need you to be like me in future”. Through the support of my mother, I grew up knowing I had a dream to fulfil.

As a girl who wants to break stereotype on social norms, I competed with boys in my school and became one of the best among the girls to get to top in Primary Leaving examination in my school as well as getting the Ordinary Level Certificate.

In 2019, I was awarded scholarship through Open Society Foundation to study in Germany and pursue my Master’s Degree in Intercultural Conflict Management in Alice Salomon Hockshule-Berlin.

My career trajectory is fueled by my love to inspire other young girls keep increasing every day.

Today I am proud to be working for World Vision, which for me is one of the best child protection organizations to give smile on the faces of vulnerable children and women and help them achieve a life in its fullness.

As humanitarian workers, we face lots of challenges and this should not make us give up in our good work. With the current climate change, we are experiencing a lot of hindrances from flooding, too much heat and drought not forgetting the trending pandemic, yet still getting stronger.

Being a woman advocate, we are faced with strong patriarchal structures that give limited options to express our views on issues affecting us.

We are fighting in between the line to ensure that we create a safe space in which women and girls are given value. 

The scripture says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people”.

Watch Video: The agony is not over

Betty Adong is World Vision South Sudan's Advocacy and Protection Manager