In its most general form, HUMANITARIANISM is an ethic of kindness, benevolence and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universally is a common element in its evolution. No distinction is to be made in the face of suffering or abuse on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, tribe, casts, age, religion, or nationality.
Humanitarianism can also be described as the acceptance of every human being for plainly just being another human, ignoring and abolishing biased social views, prejudice, and racism in the process, if utilized individually as a practiced viewpoint, or mindset. (Wikipedia)
I was about 13 years old (if memory serves me) when I saw my first homeless person and asked my dad for some money to give to him. I had trouble just walking by and not doing anything, especially since we were on our way to a restaurant. How could I eat when someone outside was going hungry? The image faded over time, but the compassion growing in my heart didn't. I wanted to bring home the homeless, destitute, or just plain needy; but with humor and sensitivity my parents did not give in to my reasons or pleading. My father said to me one time "You can bring them to your home when you have one". Once I grew up and had a home of my own, I never fulfilled that desire...it was difficult to help when really I didn't know what people needed nor did I understand the reasons surrounding their situations.
I eventually found it much easier to go to those in need instead of bringing them to me.
Raised in Colwich, Kansas (USA) and known as Mindy for most of my life, I graduated from Andale High School and went on to attend Nanny International School. After working as a Professional Nanny and then as an Executive/Personal Assistant for many years, I was finally ready to finish my undergraduate degree and figure out what comes next in my professional life.
I received my BA degree in Human Services at St. Edwards University in Austin, TX in 2004 and I easily slid back into the 9 to 5 work force (and my comfort zone) after graduation. But something was just not right in my life -an unsettled nagging.
After googling "PEACE" during one extremely trying day at work, I came across a masters peace program in Europe. I had tossed around the idea of getting a master's degree and also wanted to experience living overseas, so I combined both desires and in 2006 moved to Spain (Universitat Juame I) and then Austria (University of Innsbruck) where I completed an International Masters Degree in Peace Studies in 2008.
Living in foreign countries opened up the world to me and I was able to travel extensively before moving to Washington, DC in 2008 to restock my savings account (and to start paying off student loans). In 2010 I was back out in the world again and began my first Humanitarian Service (or Peace Work) at a home for vulnerable children in Nepal. Nepal was amazing, beautiful and regretfully, a bit too easy. I wanted more of a challenge, a place that didn't only want me, but needed me. I moved to Cambodia in January 2011 and now call the Wat Opot Children's Community (WOCC) home.
WOCC currently houses 50+ vulnerable children, most of whom have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, twenty-one of the children are HIV+ themselves. At Wat Opot, I work as an unpaid-staff and wear many hats, among those, a Program Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, accountant, friend, big sister, and of course, a mommy.