Alan Thomlinson first travelled to Syria in 2010 as a tourist, and recently returned from a trip almost seven years later in his role as Emergency Programme Manager for CAFOD.
Students were interested to hear about working in international development and to learn about the enormous impact of the Syrian crisis.
Alan inspired the students by sharing his experiences as an aid worker and the impact this has had on his life both personally and professionally.
He said: “I enjoyed sharing my experiences with the group at Aquinas College. The group were interested and it was brilliant to be able to enlighten them on the realities of working in the humanitarian sector, but equally to share with them the sense of reward that this comes with working in the field.”
Sadiqah Sultana, a lower sixth Global Justice and Peace student at Aquinas, said: “I attended the talk and Alan informed us about the ongoing complex issues in Syria and how CAFOD provides short term aid for those suffering in the war torn country.
“He gave us his insight on his shaky journey to becoming a humanitarian worker and the difficulties in getting a career in international development. Overall, I enjoyed the talk as it educated me on topics I didn’t understand before and taught me where generous donations to CAFOD go to.”
The talk highlighted the complexity of the crisis in Syria, and Alan explained how aid agencies like CAFOD are responding to the challenges that arise.
CAFOD’s local representative in Stockport, Bridget Fenwick, said: “Thanks firstly to Alan, who offered such a great insight into his work, and secondly to the students at Aquinas who showed such a deep understanding of the topic and an eagerness to learn about CAFOD’s work.”