Sue Le Mesurier

How and when did you first get involved with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement?

I have been working in the Movement since July 2007 when I was employed as a British Red Cross delegate in the Maldives. Following other assignments in the field, I now have the privilege to contribute to the Movement through our migration work and the building of migration-related partnerships. By working along migratory trails, I hope we can further respond to the plight of those living outside society’s conventional protection systems.

Tell us about your work in the Movement. What has been your most memorable moment?

Throughout all of my work experiences, I have always been impressed by the courage and depth individuals and communities show in the face of despair and loss. This has taught me an enormous amount in terms of understanding myself, how to have compassion and be grateful for the opportunities I have in life. In the Maldives, Gaza and Pakistan (places where I went on assignment), I saw so many people who had lost all of the material things in their lives. But they were full of gratitude for the small things such as basic shelter, a bowl of food and a sense of community. I have often been struck by the generosity of these people and the very human moments we have shared together, sitting down over a cup of tea and chatting while surrounded by piles of rubble.

Tell us about a global initiative in the field of migration and how it has made a difference in the lives of migrants.

A really innovative initiative that comes to mind is one that the Belgian Red Cross and the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) implemented together. They joined forces with Congolese artists to produce comic books reflecting the realities of migration to Europe. The comics illustrate the gap that often exists between the migrant dream and the realities of the migratory journey and life in a new country. This is a wonderful initiative because it stimulates debate on migration and raises awareness so that young people in the DRC are better informed when they make choices about migration.

What has been your most memorable moment (so far) in your job?

Working in the field is extremely rewarding when you really feel you can make a difference in the lives of people who have been affected by a disaster. Working on the FACT Team in Pakistan after the extreme flooding there was both challenging and emotional. To see so many people who had to leave their homes with their families and only have the clothes they were wearing, but were ready to smile and help others.

What qualities do you feel are necessary to be a successful employee at the IFRC?

Diplomacy, patience, being a good listener. And be open to the unexpected.

What are the positive things about working at the IFRC?

Great team spirit, meeting colleagues from all over the world, and different backgrounds and skills, a common sense of working together based on our Fundamental Principles.

What advice would you give to an aspiring aid worker?

Go to the field. You have to get your feet wet, sometimes very wet, and even muddy!

Sue Le Mesurier

Sue Le Mesurier, Migration Senior Officer, Geneva

Helping migrants after a disaster strikes