In the podcast Awake at Night, Melissa Fleming, the chief spokesperson for the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), explores what it takes to be a humanitarian workerin some of the world's most difficult and dangerous situations.
The stories are heartbreaking and harrowing and utterly fascinating. Humanitarian aid workershave to be incredibly mentally tough to spend every day trying to make the world a little betterfor people facing their darkest hours.
While most aid workers are happy to help disaster victims, refugees, displaced persons, andfamilies find a path forward, it's tough work. PTSD, anxiety, and stress-related illnesses areall well-known side effects of humanitarian work.
Now aid workers are getting a little help to take care of themselves.
The United Nations Foundation along with the athleisure-wear brand Lululemon created Peaceon Purpose, a program that provides UN development and humanitarian workers with yoga andmindfulness training to help counteract stress, strengthen leadership, and build resiliency.
According to Calvin McDonald, Lululemon's CEO, the program was created specifically with theneeds of humanitarian workers in mind.
"They face unique pressures and challenging situations, and the program provides insightsinto mindfulness for a variety of situations," McDonald told Fast Company in an email, explaining that they tailored yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training programs to UN staffand local leaders.
Lululemon has built a social impact program into its corporate culture, including oneelement, dubbed Here to Be, that helps communities access yoga, meditation, andmindfulness.
It's supported more than 300 nonprofit organizations since 2016 and knew the program canhelp in even the most stressful environments.