It has been one year since I worked with the Ukraine Crisis Response. I was first deployed from World Vision South Africa as a Finance Officer based in Bucharest, Romania for three months. The challenge was enormous for me personally as this was my first response deployment.
I was previously Senior National Office Accountant for the South Africa office supporting the sponsorship program. I had minimal grants finance experience but I loved the work environment right away. I knew this was where I belonged.
My first struggle was with the language and the fast pace at which the work was being done. Emergency responses require high level of accuracy and speedy deadlines. People impacted by the crisis were waiting, hence support work from our end must also deliver quickly.
What helped me adjust well was my background of being a child refugee myself after conflict in my home town left us homeless and displaced when I was 14 years old. I used my personal experience to respond and assist in the best way that I possibly could.
As a finance coordinator supporting the Ukraine Crisis Response operations in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine, I learned how to work among different cultures and contexts. Being sensitive matters.
My previous knowledge and experience from the national office staff came in really handy as I navigated through the accounting systems we use in the response. I saw this as an opportunity and a calling.
I can truly say I have found my ‘why’ in life and my hope is for God to continue to nourish and teach me as I advance in my career both personally and professionally as a humanitarian.
This particular period of my life I kept on reminding myself of the scripture in Philippians 4 v 13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
With my degree in accounting. I have worked in several sectors but never felt fulfilment as I am now as a humanitarian, knowing that my job directly impacts the lives of so many refugees and the displaced.
Any failure to process financial transactions and payments on time could mean a family does not get the assistance they require every day. I am grateful for the opportunity to work and learn in the disaster response environment.
I have met and made a lot of friends during this period and enjoyed serving side by side with them. I have personally grown a lot in this period basically having to constantly remind myself that I have to move with the speed, accuracy and focus even as I remotely support from Johannesburg, South Africa.
It has been an interesting journey for me which I wish to continue and do my best to offer my skills and knowledge to the most vulnerable. I can truly say I have found my ‘why’ in life and my hope is for God to continue to nourish and teach me as I advance in my career both personally and professionally as a humanitarian.
I pray for the Ukraine crisis to end, and my contribution through my work will help World Vision fulfil its promise to children, women and the most vulnerable.
By Thabiso Diale, UCR Finance Coordinator