Naomi Steer


Humanitarian challenges facing refugees who have lost everything can appear overwhelming but sometimes simple solutions can mean the difference between life and death. A mosquito net to prevent malaria, a plastic sheet to keep out the rain, a cooking pot to make a hot meal, and clean drinking water to prevent disease. 80% of all refugees are women and children and providing support to them is top priority for me and the team at A4UNHCR.

Naomi Steer

Naomi was one of the main founders of Australia for UNHCR (A4UNHCR). Since setting up UNHCR’s Australian fundraising operations in 2000, she has travelled to many refugee situations including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Chad and Uganda to speak with and record the stories of refugees. Close to Naomi’s heart is the Safe Mother and Baby program funded by Australian donors. Now running in Somalia - which has  one of the highest rates of maternal and neonatal mortality rates - the program focuses on reproductive health and education. At the centre of the program is a simple kit made up of a plastic sheet, clean blade, soap, string, swaddling and resuscitation instructions all of which enables mothers to give birth in a clean environment, reducing the risk of haemorrhage and post-natal infection. This simple, low cost kit of basic materials has saved thousands of lives.

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney

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