Special Initiatives & Emergency Response

South Sudanese doctor honoured at UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award ceremony

Dr Evan Atar Adaha, an inspirational doctor from South Sudan, has won the 2018 Nansen Refugee Award. IKEA Foundation and IKEA co-workers were among the special guests at the award ceremony on 1 October and witnessed Dr Atar receive the honour. The event was hosted by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Geneva and supported by the IKEA Foundation.

The Nansen Award is presented every year to a person or organisation who has dedicated their time, going above and beyond the call of duty to help people forcibly displaced from their homes.

Outstanding commitment

Dr Evan Atar Adaha is the medical director at a hospital in Bunj, South Sudan. He is also its only surgeon. He received the award in recognition of his outstanding 20-year commitment in providing medical services to people forced to flee conflict.

The 120-bed hospital, more than 600 kilometres from the capital, Juba, is the only functioning surgical facility in the region. Dr Atar and his staff work in a difficult and dangerous environment, where simmering tensions often erupt into violence and skilled healthcare workers, medicines and equipment are in short supply.

Dr Atar treats all those in need of care regardless of their background—a commitment that has earned him the respect of refugees and local people alike. His work shows the difference that one person can make, even with incredible odds stacked against them.

Meeting Nansen Award winner

The morning after the ceremony, IKEA co-workers had breakfast with Dr Atar and personally heard more about his work, sharing experiences and getting inspired by the laureate.

Radu Dumitraşcu, member of the IKEA Foundation team, said: “We were all really touched by Dr Atar’s accounts of his work in South Sudan. We felt humbled by Dr Atar’s presence and I think his work and achievements put our own work around refugees into perspective. There are so many unsung heroes out there from whom we can all learn and draw our energy. Seeing Dr Atar’s dedication and commitment to the cause gave us all hope that a better future is possible for refugees and displaced people, and that every effort counts.”