The RailStaff Awards 2024

Nominations for Samaritans Lifesaver Award

Janet Trowse

Said the following about Marrily Runoona-Rutsito:

“Marrily has always had a passion to make a difference to people’s lives in any way possible.

There were over 350 Zimbabweans estimated to be in Ukraine at the time the war started. Marrily hadn’t experienced anything like this before, but her ambition was to do anything possible to help those in need. Through her tireless efforts, commitment, personal funding and networks, she supported the evacuation of over 250 foreign nationals in Ukraine to safety with humanitarian and consular assistance in neighbouring countries.

There were no limits to what Marrily was prepared to do to try and make a difference. Through her resilience and resourcefulness, she liaised with embassies in neighbouring countries (Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Hungary, Poland and Zimbabwe) seeking assistance for safe passage for those that would normally need visas. She helped with searching quickest routes to safety using different methods of transport. In cases of emergency, she sourced and booked accommodation in various cities. Marrily paid out of her own pocket to provide assistance with emergency food, sanitary, hygiene and other items (e.g. PCR tests).

She supported the Zimbabwean Embassy in Berlin by making the evacuation process more efficient, by creating an evacuation form – which is being used for flight bookings. Over 200 tickets have been issued with confirmation of safe arrival in Zimbabwe. Her efforts have not gone unrecognised – she was recently invited to the Zimbabwean embassy to work in partnership with them to improve processes and make efficiencies.

During the evacuation process, where she was made aware of medical emergencies and human rights violations, they were reported to UNHCR, IMO and Amnesty International. She also contacted local MPs and the British Consulate in Ukraine notifying them of British citizens who had apparently been denied access at borders.

Marrily’s support doesn’t stop there. She is in touch with relevant organisations (e.g. Organisation for Migration (IOM), Global Diaspora Confederation (GDC) to provide assessments of urgent educational, professional, welfare and mental health first aid support where needed. She is also helping families to stay in touch and signposting them to relevant organisations who can provide advice to give support. Marrily continues to look for other volunteers and mental health first aiders who can support evacuees either face to face in Zimbabwe or virtually as well as information to be used to help displaced students map where they can finish their disrupted studies. She also continues to search for free providers of emergency psychosocial support where possible.

Marrily is going the extra mile to support people she has not met but are suffering and in need support and doing so demonstrates Network Rail’s safety culture. She has moved many by her kindness and dedication. Her truly inspirational efforts has helped over 250 strangers flee to safety from a war zone – just phenomenal and humbling..“