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Season two

Season two of our How Aid Works podcast is a no-holds-barred look at the lives of Red Cross aid workers. You’ll hear stories of despair in a hospital, hope on a battlefield and love in (literally) a time of cholera.

Red Cross humanitarian worker out in the field.

Earthquake, war, famine, flood ... interested?

It's a job you can't wait to leave and can't wait to return to. We look at how to break into the field of humanitarian aid work, with an honest assessment of how to survive this terrifying, frustrating, addictive job.

Red Cross humanitarian worker helping out in a field hospital.

A week of terror and inadequacy

This week we look at your very first mission as an aid worker: whether it's Pakistan after an earthquake, a refugee camp in South Sudan or a tiny Tongan island.

Red Cross worker caring for a newborn.

4 minutes to save the world

Every minute is a matter of life or death when a disaster strikes or a conflict breaks out.

Emergency worker wearing a full protective suit during the Ebola crisis.

The coffin on the bus and other tales of horror

Sometimes you're faced with a carful of corpses. Sometimes you have to drive the body of a bomb victim home to her parents. Sometimes you have to treat an illness so contagious that other doctors have already died.

Crowds of fleeing civilians escaping the Ebola crisis.

A water stop in an apocalypse

How do you feel watching families flee in an apocalyptic sea of people? How do you cope with an Ebola nightmare sweeping before your eyes?

Pregnant humanitarian worker posing by the sea.

Love in the hot zone

Listen up, Humanitarians of Tinder! It can be hard to maintain relationships with family, let alone find love, when you're going from mission to mission in high-security zones.

Red Cross humanitarian workers helping migrants disembark a small inflatable boat.


What could possibly go wrong on a relief mission? Well… border disputes, power outages, strikes, random epidemics, natural disasters, insurgencies, rains shutting down roads and governments being overthrown.

Red Cross humanitarian workers helping civilians to safety.

Advice to my younger self

Learn to manage risk, because someone will shoot at you. Stop being so damn idealistic. Sit back and listen. There are no heroes, least of all you.

Recently returned Red Cross humanitarian worker talking about her experience.

Congratulations! You're forever a misfit

The mission's over. Time to catch up with your mates and a season's worth of Game of Thrones. Except that people treat you differently after you've worked in an Ebola zone.