A woman wearing an HI vest unloads crutches from a van in Haiti

‘I go wherever I am needed for emergencies’

Virginie Duclos, 32, provides insight into her work as a rehabilitation project manager for Humanity & Inclusion’s emergency team. She has responded to a number of emergencies, including the earthquake in Haiti in 2021 and war in Ukraine in 2022.

Q: What is your job?

I am not based in any particular country, but I go wherever I am needed for emergencies. When there is a crisis or an emergency, I go to the country. I do what is called a "needs assessment,” seeing the number of people injured, the number of people with disabilities, the number of vulnerable people, which needs are covered or not covered by national organizations or international NGOs. Based on that, we see how we can articulate our response with what exists and what the needs are, and then implement it. Then, we recruit the necessary personnel and train them.

Q: Why did you choose to join Humanity & Inclusion?

I joined Humanity & Inclusion for two reasons. The first was for personal reasons. It was an opportunity for an interesting position, which allowed me to develop my skills. And the second was to join an NGO that shared the values I hold dear, especially that of reaching the most vulnerable populations in the rehabilitation sector.

Q: What impact does your job have?

When there is a crisis, there may be either a sudden increase in the number of injured people or an increase in the needs of people who were already in a situation of disability. The local structures—the hospitals, the public authorities—may not have the capacity to respond. Therefore, the goal is to help them, to support them, to set up new projects or to help them in their own projects to meet this need.

It has been proven for many years now that the earlier you start rehabilitation after an event that can change someone's life, the less likely it is that a disability will develop in the long run. So, it's really important to start as early as possible at the time of the crisis to avoid the development of disabilities.