CARE's Heroes: Denice
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Finding CARE's Real-Life Humanitarian Heroes
My name is Denice Owino Abonyo. I am 48 years old working as a plant and mechanic
engineer with CARE Kenya in Dadaab Refugee Camp for the last 20 years.
1. What does it mean to be a humanitarian worker to you?
Serving humanity by being able to offer assistance to those in need and enriching
them through services such as provision of water for daily use. It also means achieving CARE’s purpose in eliminating poverty, and achieving social justice.
Photo: Denice at a Borehole 06 site during borehole rehabilitation (borehole flushing) in Hagadera Refugee Camp in Dadaab Refugee Complex.
2. Why did you decide to start helping your community– why did you choose to do it, how did you get into it?
Growing up it was my desire to serve communities through provision of services and
items that makes their life better. I was lucky that my mentors were established in humanitarian work and they became role models. I was able to join the humanitarian work with assistance of close friends who were also working in the same sector.
3. What are some of the biggest challenges and obstacles you have to overcome in your work and the current response? i.e. stigmatization, access difficulties, dangers, lack of support etc.
Recurring security incidents in my line of work hinders timely service delivery such as
repairs and maintenance of boreholes whenever there is breakdown. Furthermore,
currently we are working under limited hours and restricted movement due to Covid-
19 safety guidelines by government and by CARE organisation.
4. What lessons have you learnt along the way?
When people are empowered they can live dignified life by using the skills acquired to
fend for themselves and stop depending on donors for support in everything.
Photo: Denice fixing pump electronic control for Borehole 06 in Hagadera Refugee Camp in Dadaab Refugee Complex.
5. Has this work or this emergency response changed you in any ways and if so, how?
Yes. I had been away from family for long time especially during Covid-19 movement restrictions and lockdown. Sometimes, the weather is extremely hot in Dadaab and there is limited access to basic amenities.
6. How do you balance your home life and work life? What kind of duties do you still have at home after you clock off from a hard day’s work?
I create time in the evening after work to call and talk to each family member.