Balazs’ Story, Bangladesh


Balazs helps manage and operate UNHCR’s refugee programme in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area. There are about 32,000 Rohingya refugees in two camps who are officially recognized as refugees by the Government. Balazs is involved in all aspects of the daily operations, including administration, finance, budgeting, monitoring and liaison with partners and strategic planning.

“We have to abide by rules made by others—and for that matter, sometimes we have to create new ones. We have to make the most out of the resources we have at hand, which isn’t always easy when decisions affect people’s lives. The most challenging thing is not to forget why we are doing it. Sometimes routine takes over, or we get tired; some of us even get burned out. That’s when we need to stop for a moment and start asking questions.

The most rewarding is the smile of the children we teach, the grateful look of the hungry we feed, the blessing of the sick or elderly we attend to and the glimpse of acknowledgement in the eyes of people in need that someone does care about them. I truly believe that aid workers in the field could not do their job without this sense of satisfaction.This kind of work is quite an intense experience.

I remember when I first visited one of our camp pre-schools. As I entered into a barely lit, small and hot shed, with about 20 kids sitting on the ground and rhythmically shouting the lesson they were learning, I realized what a major impact our work can have on their future. And of course the warm greetings and the welcoming smiles of those kids had won me over straight away.”

Balazs Simon

UNHCR Associate Programme Officer

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

1 family torn apart by war is too many

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