Illustration by Joel Kimmel for TIME
April 15, 2015

The word hero is overused and misused. The story of Mustafa Hassan, an aid worker from Sudan, and his work as a child-protection manager at the International Rescue Committee shows where it should be used. From Darfur to Syria, Mustafa’s life’s work is focused on protecting young and innocent children caught up in the barbarity of war.

Thousands of Syrian children have arrived at the Za‘atari and Azraq refugee camps alone, separated from their families, not knowing whether their parents are alive or dead. Then they meet Mustafa. With a team of 50 he does the meticulous detective work needed to reunite children with their families or connect them with foster families. Working tirelessly, below the radar, in some of the toughest conditions in the world, Mustafa and people like him restore our faith in humanity. Truly he is a hero, making the world better one life at a time.

Miliband, a former U.K. Foreign Secretary, is the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee

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