Meet our brightest lights
October 26, 2010 by The IRC
|The 2010 recipients of the Sarlo Foundation Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service gather at the IRC headquarters office in New York. From left: Jimmy Lu, Claude Agnéro, Jennifer Doran, Becky Chandler, J.C. Lamin Photo: The IRC|
They rarely make headlines, but aid workers perform lifesaving deeds every day. To carry out our mission, the International Rescue Committee depends on dedicated men and women working around the world, often under difficult and dangerous conditions. We recognize the most outstanding of these staff members through the annual Sarlo Foundation Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service.
Meet this year’s recipients, who were honored at an event last night in San Francisco:
As a field coordinator in Ivory Coast, Claude Agnéro supervises key IRC programs including health, child protection and prevention of violence against women and girls. His achievements include bringing clean drinking water to 500,000 people affected by war and sanitary improvements to more than 700 villages. Agnéro strongly believes that displaced and vulnerable people have in their own hands the potential solution to their problems.
When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January, tens of thousands of children were orphaned or separated from their families. Becky Chandler led the IRC’s response, rushing to address the needs of separated and vulnerable children. In less than two months, Chandler, a child protection specialist, set up an extensive children’s program, including classrooms and play spaces and a family reunification system that to date has helped reunite more than 390 children with their parents. “Many parents had assumed their child had died in the earthquake, and when we bring that child back to them, it’s as if we’re bringing their child back from the dead,” says Chandler. “It’s an incredible feeling.”
Jennifer Doran is a champion of children and young people. Her efforts during eight years as a family and youth service program manager for the IRC in Phoenix, Arizona, include creating an art project and a youth healing garden for traumatized refugee children and a pre-natal program for young mothers. The art that adorns the halls of IRC’s Phoenix office and the gardens that now revitalize formerly blighted neighborhoods are a tribute to the healing that Doran’s work has begun.
John C. Lamin
J.C. Lamin, a native of Sierra Leone, went to work as an IRC school teacher in a refugee camp in Guinea in 1992 and then became its principal. He eventually became director of ten schools serving 12,000 students. This year, in Sierra Leone, Lamin, a child protection manager, concluded a five-year project that placed 15,000 young people in school and that helped prevent them from becoming child laborers. “I’m proud that we have helped educate the community about child labor and have kept young people in school,” Lamin says.
In his 30-year career at the IRC, New York-based employment specialist Jimmy Lu has helped more than 4,000 refugees from Kosovo, Myanmar, Bhutan, Tibet, Iraq and West Africa find work, even in the toughest job markets. Clients ask for him by name and often say how grateful they are to Lu. “This award is a huge honor and a vote of confidence in the work of my colleagues and the IRC,” he says.