Mary T Murphy of County Cork (Ireland) recently received a Presidential Distinguished Award for the charitable work she has carried out in Ethiopia and other developing countries

By Trevor Quinn (Irish Mirror Online) |

Mary T Murphy is GOAL’s Refugee Program Manager in Ethiopia, which has experienced a huge drought in the south east of the country.

The Co Cork woman recently received a Presidential Distinguished Award for the charitable work she has carried out in the developing world over the last 27 years.

She spoke to the Irish Mirror about her career to date, her job in Ethiopia and where she will spend Christmas this year.

I became a humanitarian aid worker because I heard about the many challenges people were faced with across the world and I wanted to try and make a difference.

I went on a short mission to Nigeria when I was a young nurse at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin and that sowed the seed.

In 1994, the Rwandan genocide happened. I heard an appeal by GOAL for volunteers. I got a three-month leave of absence from Crumlin to work on that response but I was only becoming accustomed to my work when my leave expired, and so I decided to stay on and support in whatever way I could.

That was 23 years ago.

All I knew about Rwanda when I first went there was that I wanted to help. I didn’t have a great understanding of what had happened. However, as I worked for two years in the area, I came away with a much deeper understanding of some of the problems and how so many families and lives were affected.

Cholera was one of those problems, It was a major issue in the refugee camps of Goma, where we were based after the genocide. The Rwandan refugees were living anywhere they could and the hygiene situation was truly desperate.

Continue reading Mary T Murphy’s story at Irish Mirror Online
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