There is perhaps no greater feeling than to help those who genuinely require it. For Ahmed Alameldeen, it was not so much a job as it was a personal mission in his journey into the humanitarian aid course of his life.
From his early educational days in Pharmaceuticals Ahmed was on a path towards helping and assisting those who needed it most. From his beginnings in Egypt through to a variety of humanitarian aid missions to all corners of the earth. His published papers outline the necessity of education in affected regions and his focus has never wavered from those who need help.
He sat down and answered a few questions on his journey to today, his thoughts on education being a primary necessity, as well as discussing his work with NGOs and what keeps him motivated to continue in his work.
Hey Ahmed, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions, let’s start off with you telling us a little bit about yourself.
Thanks for your time as well.
My name is Ahmed Alameldeen, I am Egyptian and I hold a Bachelor degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Cairo University, and Master of Science in International Humanitarian Affairs from the University of York in UK.
I work as a Humanitarian Aid worker with the United Nations, and before with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors without borders, and some others.
Was there a singular catalyst moment that led you down the humanitarian aid pathway?
It all started when I volunteered during the study of my Pharmacy degree, where we used to go during every summer vacation to rural areas in Cairo and outside Cairo, to distribute medicine and food to the people in need.
We named it “Medical Convoy Project”, were we used to go for 1 week to one of the central schools in these rural areas, and since is summer holidays time, there were no students around, and we transform the school into a mini field hospital. Basically, converting the classrooms to clinics, the toilets to Laboratory and sampling and the playground to reception and waiting area.
We did that for 3 years out of the 5 years of the Pharmacy study period, and after my graduation, I wanted to continue doing the same, but in a more professional full-time manner, rather than just 1-2 months yearly volunteering, and this is when I started to apply for International Humanitarian organizations to pursue my humanitarian career.
Your publications from your master’s degree reflect a major focus on the importance for education, both for those who experience hardship as well as for those who are observing it. Why is education such a vital piece of the puzzle?
Yes, the paper was a Critical Analysis of Providing Education during Humanitarian crisis.
As you know, many conflicts lasted for 10 or more years, which is already the period from the start of the kindergarten period until high school, imagine if there was no proper educational alternative provided for those kids who are living under conflict for 10 years. This means that after the conflict ends, they are already 20 years old, and did not have the chance to enjoy a proper education that allow them to pursue a University degree.
That is why a UN Agency like UNICEF and Humanitarian organization like Save the Children, are now involving educational program and child friendly spaces in all their intervention in countries affected by conflict.
You’ve worked with the Australian NGO Abundant Water, which has some incredible ties to communities in Laos and Nepal, what was the biggest takeaway you had from this experience?
Although I did not stay for long period with Abundant Water in Laos, but I saw how the local Community of Laos are very much resilient at all the life aspects, not only the water availability which is the main aim of Abundant water at that time, but resilient in all their life aspects and challenges.
Abundant water project aims at teaching the local communities on how to build their own water filters from local materials, to use it in cleaning the river water in their villages, to make it drinkable and for household use.
Besides that, some can produce filters in bulk quantities and start selling it, so there is an economical benefit, in addition to the health benefit.
You’ve had a varied career in terms of your humanitarian efforts, cascading around the globe to communities that are ravaged in one form or another, how do you remain optimistic when surrounded by it all?
To be honest, there are also many frustration moments that we pass by, but when we see the effect of our work in the eyes of the communities in need, this is my source of optimism and motivation to continue and deliver more.
Is there a way for our readers to make a positive change in their day-to-days to help people in these communities?
Yes indeed, I encourage all the readers to start by their local communities inside their own country, we need to teach our kids to have the mindset of volunteerism and to be always giving more than taking, this mindset is how we can make a positive change in the life of communities in need.
What has been your proudest moment from your work in the humanitarian aid sector?
I think all the moments of the Humanitarian Aid sector are proud ones, but I believe Somalia assignment in 2011 was the most of them, as the resources there were the least when the country suffered from Famine plus Drought plus an Internal Conflict, and these circumstances put you under responsibility to deliver more to the affected communities.
What’s next for Ahmed Alameldeen?
I recently finished my Assignment in Libya with the United Nations and taking a bit of break for some time to recharge 😊.
Thank you Ahmed for your time!
You can follow up and connect with Ahmed Alameldeen at https://www.linkedin.com/in/alameldeen/