In Niamey, 10 UN volunteers serve in UNHCR offices as interpreters. Thanks to their commitment, capacities in languages and communications as well as linguistic and cultural proximity with the refugees, they improve the quality of protection and assistance provided to refugees, facilitate interviews, registrations, medical services etc., to better guarantee their rights and well-being.
Gabriela Fana Kidane, a young Swedish interpreter of Eritrean origin is an international UN Volunteer with UNHCR in Niamey, Niger. She serves as an interpreter with vulnerable refugees who have been evacuated from Libya. She speaks French, English and Tigrinya, the official language in Eritrea.
She states that her background and her passion are mainly focused on young people and vulnerable youth. In her view, that’s one of the most meaningful parts of working with UNHCR.
The contributions of Gabriela and her UN Volunteer colleagues to the priorities of UNHCR are frequently requested, even beyond normal working hours or on weekends. But they all said they are satisfied, as this is an opportunity, as volunteers, to help people exposed to incredible hardship to regain their identity and dignity.
There are a lot of vulnerable young people who are coming from Libya and being the focal point and the bridge culturally, as an Eritrean, between the refugees and the organization is incredibly meaningful. It’s a rewarding experience to use my language skills and other capacities to capture, understand and transmit their stories so that UNHCR can help them. I am proud to feel like someone who is able to make their experiences a little bit more comfortable and less intimidating to them. --Gabriela Fana Kidane, UN Volunteer with UNHCR, Niger
Mebrahton Gebretsakan is also an International UN Volunteer interpreter with UNHCR in Niamey since July 2018. Every day, he meets with and assists refugees who are evacuated from Libya. His job is to facilitate interviews, listen and transmit the testimonies of evacuees to help ensure their identification and protection within the UN agency.