Burnley aid worker's mission spurred by selfless dedication
An aid worker has spoken of her battle to save lives in war-torn countries in the most challenging of conditions.
Humanitarian, Humeira Bibi, has seen the agony and desperate faces of people fleeing persecution and conflict.
The 26-year-old first travelled out to the Syrian border with the Human Relief Foundation two years ago. She handed out much-needed food and medical supplies to people who have been forced to leave their homes, often multiple times.
In the past she has travelled to Iraq, Jordan and Bangladesh to help provide emergency assistance to meet basic needs, access to lifesaving food and water and creating safe spaces for children.
Recalling the suffering of families she has witnessed, Humeira said: "It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the despair in the eyes of the terrified people who have had to flee their homes and towns. They are exhausted, especially the children who are desperate for food and water.
"The current situation in Iraq is nothing like I've ever seen before. Everything is just rubble and buildings have been bombed to the ground. It's just pure destruction and people are still trying to survive in these conditions. Some of the towns that were once full of life and happiness are now ghost towns with no life as everything is destroyed."
"I chose to go Iraq as there are thousands of internally displaced people who are in dire need of help with basics like clean water and food. We have spoken to and helped people who have had no water for nine months at a time. Other people who have been so desperate for food they have to resort to eating cats or grass. It really is devastating out there and every morning, amid the distant sounds of explosions, I was facing a humanitarian mission more difficult than the previous day."
A former pupil of Sir John Thursby Community College, Humeira, who works as a driving instructor for Little Red One in Burnley, holds a number of fundraising events in Burnley before every trip abroad. She added: "I raised around £9,000 for my first trip. For every trip planned, I have raised similar amounts. This money is spent on food and medical needs to alleviate the suffering of people in the war-torn countries.
"I wanted to volunteer and get into humanitarian work for a long time. Human Relief Foundation charity always stood out for me as I could envisage where peoples' donations were being spent. I witnessed first hand the enormous positive impact it made to the beneficiaries, many, if not most of them, rely solely on these donations. We have spoken to needy people in Iraq and Syria who have told us the last time they received a food parcel was when we delivered it to them and in between they've had nothing. One food packs costs £60 and it is sufficient to feed a family for the whole month. The pack normally includes flour, rice, oil, lentils, spices, tinned food, pasta and lots of dry food. Each pack is normally around 25kg each. We deliver hundreds and hundreds of these each day when we are out there."
Humeira, who is also an ex-Burnley College pupil stated: "Every time I go out on humanitarian mission, it feels so rewarding. I love helping people, especially those who I know need it the most. I like to assure them that we haven't forgotten about them.
"I can and will continue delivering assistance and support as long as the generous people of Burnley continue donating towards the deserving cause."