Helena Reidy, who started as a Fundraiser and progressed to be a Team Coach for MSF, shares her invaluable experience of visiting MSF Training and Innovation centre in Brussels with her fellow fundraiser, Nafisa Brennan. Helena explains about her participation in the mass casualty exercise that involves MSF’s disaster planning and emergency incident handling.
“Having worked for myself for over 20 years, I came to a point in my life where I was able to look for new challenges.
How it started...
I applied for a position as Field Sales Rep with CPM and started work last November. Soon after, I was given the opportunity to work within Charity at CPM and to become a Fundraising Ambassador for Médecins Sans Frontières. I jumped at the chance to be part of such a noble cause and to contribute to the amazing work of such a widely respected organisation.
Since beginning in January, I haven’t looked back; I’ve loved the independence of planning my own day, meeting and chatting with such a wide variety of people and in the process, finding willing donors to help raise vital funds for the work of MSF. Success in my role has given me confidence to progress within the team; I’ve taken on further responsibilities and am now team coach, which I really enjoy. I love the daily interaction with the team, getting to know each person better and providing support wherever I can.
Action-packed training day...
In September Nafisa Brennan, a fellow fundraiser and I were given the opportunity to visit the MSF Training and Innovation centre in Brussels and to participate in a mass casualty exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to contribute to MSF’s disaster planning and to help teams better prepare in the event of a real bomb with real patients in need of real lifesaving medical care.
The training centre was in a derelict site in Brussels and the exercise was set up to replicate conditions of a mass casualty situation as closely as possible. This included many volunteers acting as victims who were caught up in the blast, most needing medical attention but also some troublemakers such as looters and people generally making a nuisance of themselves, as could be seen in a real-life situation. In a briefing before the event all volunteers were given a set of instructions as to their role and how to present for the medical teams. For those who were ‘wounded’ there were makeup artists on hand to create realistic wounds and lacerations.
As sirens were sounded and smoke filled the air, I was mindful of the fact that such events happen in real life around the world and ordinary people going about their business are the ones that are affected and desperately need help from workers in organisations such as MSF.The workers in training carried out the exercise of triaging patients amidst the chaos to great effect. Each person was seen and dealt with according to their needs and in the process valuable lessons were learned in preparation for the real event when out on the frontline in areas such as Syria or Yemen.
Exploring MSF’s Global Supply Centre...
While in Brussels, we were given a tour of the MSF Supply Centre, a huge supply chain facility responsible for the procurement and delivery of medical equipment, logistics and drugs for MSF missions worldwide. I saw how Lean Supply Chain Management is always applied in the storage and distribution of supplies in order to ensure quality and cost effectiveness. From shelters and water sanitation equipment to vaccines for killer diseases such as Ebola, all are distributed from this, one of MSF’s three Global supply centres.
Developed a compelling case...
The whole experience was invaluable; it brought home to me the extent of the work of MSF around the world, the efficiency with which projects are run and the importance of independent and impartial decisions to provide help where the need is greatest. It reiterated how important our work is in finding and bringing donors on board to help fund such projects and how carefully those funds are used. Without such support from the public, MSF’s work would not be possible.”
“Fundraising isn’t something we do, it’s who we are.”
Inspiring people to donate and raise awareness of humanitarian crises is certainly more than just a job. Helena decided to choose this path with a purpose making a difference with a cause she cares about.
If you are passionate about human rights, personable and enjoys interacting with and persuading others and looking for a fulfilling and rewarding role with purpose just like Helena Reidy, Apply Here