Susan’s Story, Tanzania

Photo by UNHCR/2014.

Photo by Tom W. Monboe/UNHCR/2014.

Susan Wagikuyu Nganga worked for UNHCR in Kenya, and she is currently Associate Protection Officer in Kasulu, Tanzania.

When I was in the process of writing my thesis for my master’s degree in Public International Law in 1997, I approached UNHCR in Nairobi for research material with regards to environmental refugees. One of the officers informed me about a job opening in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya. Since then I have been working in various refugee operations in Africa and Asia doing diverse work but mainly protection related activities.

My motivation stems from the desire to assist the most vulnerable in society. When refugees have been forced to flee their countries because of war and civil unrest and with little or nothing, I feel that it is most rewarding to assist them with my legal knowledge, and to find a solution that will enable them to rebuild their lives.

It is very rewarding to be able to interview refugees knowing that you are giving them especially their children the opportunity to build a new life, and to access quality education.

It is my job to ensure that people get the legal protection they need. As a humanitarian, I focus on the people mostly women and children that need my support no matter what it would take.

Not everyone will appreciate the assistance you are providing. Some will not value it and others will do. I learn a lot about the culture in which I find myself. But at the end of the day, when the support I provide helps a single mother who lost her husband find a durable solution that restores her hope, it’s something I am always proud of.”

1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at