The Awardee of 2022 Hong Kong Humanity Award - Dr Jimmy Leung Hei-jim
Acting for changes and hope in war zones
Inspired by his mother who is a doctor, Dr Jimmy Leung Hei-jim had always dreamed to dedicate himself to serving the sick and injured. In 2016, he quit his job as an emergency doctor and became part of the Médecins Sans Frontières. “Everyone has a right to access the basic medical services, but in war-affected or vulnerable areas, many people do not even have such right.” The aspiration to work for a better future for those in need motivated him to participate in humanitarian work.
In 2016, Jimmy was sent to Yemen for a 3-month emergency mission. By that time, the civil war in Yemen had been going on for 2 years; the country was devastated with a huge amount of sick and injured. “On my first night in Yemen, I realised that the war was around me, I was overwhelmed and could not sleep. When I saw the injured, I knew there was no time for hesitation. I should do my utmost and focus every moment on saving lives.” He was sent to Iraq for another mission in 2017. “Many people risked their lives getting over the border to our side. They were very frustrated when they saw us as it had been years for them to see any doctor. Their fate would be completely different if they were living in a developed area.”
Although it is never easy to work in war zones, Jimmy thinks it is worth doing as the medical services can change many lives and even become the very last hope for the people there. “There was a young kid whose legs got scalded badly in an accident. It took his parents a whole week to get enough money to rent a car to our hospital, it was almost too late to save his life. In war zones, what happens in a few seconds can make the difference between life and death.” Jimmy saw many deaths during his missions, but his faith as a doctor is always with him. “In those difficult and hopeless environments, if no one is willing to help, many lives may simply lose. We may not be able to save everyone, but at least we can safeguard their dignity and bring them hope.”
Humanity is to keep the faith to move forward courageously and to be the change you want to see.