Winning the ICRC Young Reporter Competition

19 Nov 2010 | By Jeremy Boo

I was frankly quite surprised when the call from Switzerland came to notify me that I won the competition.

After I was told that I was one of 12 shortlisted—and after the long-distance phone interview with a panel of judges which I was convinced I completely mangled, I was torn between hope (that I would actually win), euphoria/confidence (of winning), and despair (of not daring to expect to win).

I only began to fully appreciate what happened after I saw the ICRC’s press release, official announcement, and Facebook page. The win was in a peculiar state of suspended reality especially since there was an press embargo between the phone call and the official announcement, so I could not share the news with too many people or discuss it freely.

Someone asked me how did I get interested in reporting about humanitarian issues.

I realised I needed to tell stories the day I realised that very few people understand suffering, poverty, strife, and discrimination. Apathy set in and spreads like dry rot. They watch it on televisions and read it on newspapers like a form of entertainment. They study these in books but they cannot imagine that such situations in the world actually exist.

And many of those who have seen such situations with their very own eyes believe in simplistic solutions, turning good intentions into a twisted form of poverty tourism.

I believe that it is when people are able to experience emotionally the lives of others, will they then be able to empathise and truly help in their own capacities.

I find strength in what I do because I have seen how people find courage in the most difficult times.

And that keeps me going.